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VOL. I. 










VOL. I. 





THE present translation of Strabo, the great Geographer 
of Antiquity, is the first which has been laid before the 
English public. It is curious that a classic of so much 
renown and intrinsic value should have remained a 
comparatively sealed book to this country for so many 
centuries ; yet such is the fact. It is true that the im- 
perfect state of the Greek text, and the difficulty of 
geographical identification, have always been appalling- 
obstacles ; yet, after the acute and valuable labours of 
Gossellin, Du Theil, Groskurd, and especially of Gustav 
Cramer of Berlin, (whose text is followed in the pre- 
sent volume,) we might fairly have expected that some 
English scholar would have ventured to enter the field. 
But the task, like many in a similar position, has been 
reserved for the publisher of the Classical Library, and 
he trusts it will be found conscientiously fulfilled. 

The translation was, in the first instance, intrusted to 
Mr. H. C. Hamilton, whose knowledge of the subject, 
and familiarity with the various languages concerned, 
peculiarly fitted him for the undertaking. His official 

1O314 I 


duties, however, added to his anxious examination of 
every thing which tended to illustrate his author, pre- 
vented his proceeding with much speed; and it was 
only after the lapse of three years that he had reached 
the end of the sixth book. In the mean time it transpired 
that Mr. W. Falconer, son of the editor of the Oxford 
edition of the Greek text, had, after several years of 
care and attention, produced a very excellent transla- 
tion, meaning to publish it. Under the circumstances 
it was deemed advisable to amalgamate the rival under- 
takings, and it is a source of gratification to the pub- 
lisher that the respective translators were each so well 
satisfied with the labours of the other, that they as- 
sented readily to his proposal of associating their names. 
This is all it seems necessary to state here. Jn the 
third volume will be given some account of the life and 
labours of Strabo, and of the manuscripts and principal 
editions ; also a complete index of the places mentioned 
in the text, accompanied, where possible, by the modern 

H. G. B. 

"VvO^i ^^ 

N ^ORN\* 





That geographical investigation is not inconsistent with philosophy. That 
Homer gives proof of it throughout his poems. That they who first wrote 
on the science have omitted much, or given disjointed, defective, false, or 
inconsistent accounts. Proofs and demonstrations of the correctness of 
this statement, with general heads containing a summary description of the 
disposition of the whole habitable earth. Credit to be attached to the 
probabilities and evident proofs that in many regions the land and sea have 
been shifted, and exchanged places with each other. 


I. 1 IF the scientific investigation of any subject be the proper 
avocation of the philosopher, Geography, the science of which 
we propose to treat, is certainly entitled to a high place ; and 
this is evident from many considerations. They who first 
ventured to handle the matter were distinguished men. 
Homer, Anaximander the Milesian, and Hecataeus, (his fel- 
low-citizen according to Eratosthenes,) Democritus, Eudoxus, 
Dicsearchus, Ephorus, with many others, and after these 
Erastosthenes, Polybius, and Posidonius, all of them phi- 

ISor is the great learning, through which alone this sub- 
ject can be approached, possessed by any but a person acquaint- 
ed with both human and divine things, 2 and these attainments 
constitute what is called philosophy. In addition to its vast 
importance in regard to social life, and the art of government, 
Geography unfolds to us the celestial phenomena, acquaints us 

1 The chapters and sectional divisions of Kramer's edition of the Greek 
text have been generally followed in this translation. 

2 TO. 9da Kal avQpwirtia, " the productions of nature and art." 
VOL. i. B 


with the occupants of the land and ocean, and the vegetation, 
fruits, and peculiarities of the various quarters of the earth, 
a knowledge of which marks him who cultivates it as a man 
earnest in the great problem of life and happiness. 

2. Admitting this, let us examine more in detail the points 
we have advanced. 

And first, [we maintain,] that both we and our predecessors, 
amongst whom is Hipparchus, do justly regard Hefner as the 
founder of geographical science, for he not only excelled all, 
ancient as well as modern, in the sublimity of his poetry, but 
also in his experience of social Jife. Thus it was that he not 
only exjr^ed himself to become familiar with as many histQ- 
ric facts as possible, and transmit fTiern to posterity, but also 
with the various regions of The inliabited land and sea, some 
intimately, others in a more general manner. For otherwise 
he would not have reached the utmost limits of the earth, tra- 
versing it in his imagination. 

3. First, he stated that the earth was entirely encompassed 
by the ocean, as in truth it is ; afterwards he described the 
countries, specifying some by name, others more generally by 
various indications, explicitly defining Libjja, 1 Ethiopia, the 
Sidonians, and the t Erembi (by which latter are probably in- 
tended the Troglodyte Arabians) ; and alluding to those far- 
ther east and west as the lands washed by the ocean, for in 
ocean he believed both the sun and constellations t<3 rise and 

" Now from the gently-swelling flood profound 
The sun arising, with his earliest rays, 
In his ascent to heaven smote on the fields." 2 
" And now the radiant sun in ocean sank, 
Dragging night after him o'er all the earth." 3 

The stars also he describes as bathed in the ocean. 4 

1 Africa. 

2 T^Ten indeed the sun freshly struck the fields [with its rays], ascend- 
ing heaven from the calmly-flowing, deep-moving ocean. Iliad vii. 421 ; 
Odyssey xix. 433. These references relate to the Greek text ; any one 
wishing to verify the poetic translation will find the place in Cowper, 
by adding a few lines to the number adapted to the Greek. The prose 
version is taken from Bohn's edition. 

3 And the bright light of the sun fell into the ocean, drawing dark 
night over the fruitful earth. Iliad viii. 485. 

4 " Bright and steady as the star 

Autumnal, which in ocean newly bathed, 
Assumes fresh beauty." Iliad v. 6. 


4. He portrays the happiness of the people of the West, and 
the salubrity of their climate, having no doubt heard of the 
abundance of Iberia, 1 which had attracted the arms of Hep- 
cules, 2 afterwards of the Phoenjcians, who acquired there an 
extended rule, and finally of the Romans. There the airs of 
Zephyr breathe, there the poet feigned the fields of Elysium, 
when he tells us Menelaus was sent thither by the gods : 

" Thee the gods 

Have destined to the blest Elysian isles, 
Earth's utmost boundaries. Rha^ajpianthus there 
For ever reigns, and there the human kind 
Enjoy the easiest life ; no snow is there, 
No biting winter, and no drenching shower, 
But Zephyr always gently from the sea 
Breathes on them, to refresh the happy race." 3 

5. The Isles of the Blest 4 are on the extreme west of 
Maurusia, 5 near where its shore runs parallel to the opposite 
coast of Spain ; and it is clear he considered these regions also 
Blest, from their contiguity to the Islands. 

6. He tells us also, that the Ethiopians are far removed, and 
bounded by the ocean : far removed, 

" The Ethiopians, utmost of mankind, 

These eastward situate, those toward the west." 6 

1 Gosselin remarks that in his opinion Strabo frequently attributes to 
Homer much information of which the great poet was entirely ignorant : 
the present is an instance, for Spain was to Homer a perfect terra in- 

2 The Phoenician Hercules, anterior to the Grecian hero by two or 
three centuries. The date of his expedition, supposing it to have ac- 
tually occurred, was about sixteen or seventeen hundred years before the 
Christian era. 

3 But the immortals will send you to the Elysian plain, and the bound- 
aries of the Earth, where is auburn-haired Rhadamanthus ; there of a 
truth is the most easy life for men. There is nor snow, nor long winter, 
nor even a shower, but every day the ocean sends forth the gently blowing 
breezes of the west wind to refresh men." Odyssey iv. 563. 

4 The Isles of the Blest are the same as the Fortunate Isles of other 
geographers. It is clear from Strabo's description that he alludes to the 
Canary Islands ; but as it is certain that Homer had never heard of these, 
irlS'probab'le that the passages adduced by Strabo have reference to the 
Elysian Fields of Ba'ia in Campania. 

5 The Maurusia of the Greeks (the Mauritania of the Latins) is now 
known as Algiers and Fez in Africa. 

6 The Ethiopians, who are divided into two divisions, the most dis- 
tant of men. Odyssey i. 23. 

B 2 


Nor was he mistaken in calling them separated into two 
divisions, as we shall presently show : and next to the ocean, 

" For to the banks of the Oceanus, 
Where Ethiopia holds a feast to Jove, 
He journey'd yesterday." * 

Speaking of the Bear, he implies that the most northern part 
of the earth is bounded by the ocean : 

" Only star of these denied 
To slake his beams in Ocean's briny baths." 2 

Now, by the " Bear " and the " Wain," he means the Arctic 
Circle ; otherwise he would never have said, " It alone is de- 
prived of the baths of the ocean," when such an infinity of 
stars is to be seen continually revolving in that part of the 
hemisphere. Let no one any longer blame his ignorance for 
being merely acquainted with one Bear, when there are two. 
It is probable that the second was not considered a constella- 
tion until, on the Phoenicians specially designating it, and em- 
ploying it in navigation, it became known as one to the Greeks. 3 
Such is the case with the Hair of Berenice, and Canopus. 
whose names are but of yesterday ; and, as Aratus remarks, 
there are numbers which have not yet received any designa- 
tion. Crates, therefore, is mistaken when, endeavouring to 
amend what is correct, he reads the verse thus : 

Otof S' dfifjiopog tan \otrpCjv, 
replacing 0177 by oloc,, with a view to make the adjective agree 

1 For yesterday Jove went to Oceanus, to the blameless Ethiopians, 
to a banquet. Iliad i. 423. The ancients gave the name of Ethi- 
opians, generally, to the inhabitants of Interior Africa, the people who 
occupied the sea-coast of the Atlantic, and the shores of the Arabian Gulf. 
It is with this view of the name that Strabo explains the passage of 
Homer; but the Mediterranean was the boundary of the poet's geographi- 
cal knowledge ; and the people he speaks of were doubtless the inhabitants 
of the southern parts of Phoenicia, who at one time were called Ethi- 
opians. We may here remark too, that Homer's. ocean frequently means 
the Mediterranean, sometimes probably the Nile. See also p. 48, n. 2. 

2 But it alone is free from the baths of the ocean. Iliad xviii. 489 ; 
Odyssey v. 275. 

3 We are informed by Diogenes Laertius, that Thales was the first to 
make known to the Greeks the constellation of the Lesser Bear. Now 
this philosopher flourished 600 years before the Christian era, and conse- 
quently some centuries after Homer's death. The name of &OIVIKIJ which 
it received from the Greeks, is proof that Thales owed his knowledge of it to 
the Phoenicians. Conf. Humboldl's Cosmos, vol. iii. p. 1GO, Bonn's edition. 


with the Arctic Circle, which is masculine ; instead of the 
Arctic Constellation, which is feminine. The expression of 
Heraclitus is far more preferable and Homeric, who thus figu- 
ratively describes the Arctic Circle as the Bear, " The Bear 
is the limit of the dawn and of the evening, and from the re- 
gion of the Bear we have fine weather." Now it is not the 
constellation of the Bear, but the Arctic Circle, which is the 
limit of the rising and the setting stars. 

By the Bear, then, which he elsewhere calls the Wain, 
and describes as pursuing Orion, Homer means us to under- 
stand the Arctic Circle ; and by the ocean, that horizon into 
which, and out of which, the stars rise and set. When he 
says that the Bear turns round and is deprived of the ocean, 
he was aware that the Arctic Circle [always] extended to the 
sign opposite the most northern point of the horizon. Adapt- 
ing the words of the poet to this view, by that part of the 
earth nearest to the ocean we must understand the horizon, and 
by the Arctic Circle that which extends to the signs which 
seem to our senses to touch in succession the most northern 
point of the horizon. Thus, according to him, this portion of 
the earth is washed by the ocean. With the nations of the 
North he was well acquainted, although he does not mention 
them by name, and indeed at the present day there is no re- 
gular title by which they are all distinguished. He informs 
us of their mode of life, describing them as "wanderers," 
" noble milkers of mares," " living on cheese," and " without 
wealth." 1 

7. In the following speech of Juno, he states that the ocean 
surrounds the earth. 

" For to the green earth's utmost bounds I go, 
To visit there the parent of the gods, 
Oceanus." 2 

Does he not here assert that ocean bounds all its extremities, 
and does it not surround these extremities ? Again, in the 

1 Iliad xiii. 5. Gosselin says, Thrace (the present Roumelia) was in- 
disputably the most northern nation known to Homer. He names the people 
'iTTTTjjjuoXyoi, or living on mares' milk, because in his time they were a 
nomade race. Strabo evidently gives a forced meaning to the words of 
the poet, when he attempts to prove his acquaintance with the Scythians 
and Sarmatians. 

2 For I go to visit the limits of the fertile earth, and Oceanus, the 
parent of the gods. Iliad xiv. 200. 


Hoplopoeia, 1 he places the ocean in a circle round the border 
of Achilles' shield. Another proof of the extent of his know- 
ledge, is his acquaintance with the ebb and flow of the sea, 
calling it " the ebbing ocean." 2 Again, 

" Each day she thrice disgorges, and again 
Thrice drinks, insatiate, the deluge down." 3 

The assertion of thrice, instead of twice, is either an error of 
the author, or a blunder of the scribe, but the phenomenon is 
the same, and the expression soft-flowing, 4 has reference to 
the flood-tide, which has a gentle swell, and does not flow with 
a full rush. Posidonius believes that where Homer describes 
the rocks as at one time covered with the waves, and at an- 
other left bare, and when he compares the ocean to a river, he 
alludes to the flow of the ocean. The first supposition is cor- 
rect, but for the second there is no ground ; inasmuch as there 
can be no comparison between the flow, much less the ebb of 
the sea, and the current of a river. There is more probability 
in the explanation of Crates, that Homer describes the whole 
ocean as deep-flowing, ebbing, and also calls it a river, and 
that he also describes a part of the ocean as a river, and the 
flow of a river ; and that he is speaking of a part, and not the 
whole, when he thus writes : 

" When down the smooth Oceanus impell'd 
By prosperous gales, my galley, once again, 
Cleaving the billows of the spacious deep, 
Had reach'd the ^Eaean isle." 5 

He does not, however, mean the whole, but the flow of the river 
in the ocean, which forms but a part of the ocean. Crates 

1 The eighteenth book of the Iliad. 

2 Iliad xviii. 399 ; Odyss. xx. 65. 

3 Thrice indeed each day it lets loose its waves, and thrice it ebbs 
them back. Odyss. xii. 105. 

Gosselin remarks, " I do not find any thing in these different passages of 
Homer to warrant the conclusion that he was aware of the ebb and flow 
of the tide ; every one knows that the movement is hardly perceptible in 
the Mediterranean. In the Euripus, which divides the Isle of Negropont 
from Bo20tia, the waters are observed to flow in opposite directions seve- 
ral times a day. It was from this that Homer probably drew his ideas ; 
and the regiilar current of the Hellespont, which carries the waters of the 
Black Sea into the Mediterranean, led him to think that the whole ocean, 
or Mediterranean, had one continued flow like the current of a river." 

* Iliad vii. 422. 

5 But when the ship left the stream of the river-ocean, and entered 
on the wave of the wide-wayed sea. Odyssey xii. 1. 


says, he speaks of an estuary or gulf, extending from the 
winter tropic towards the south pole. 1 Now any one quitting 
this, might still be in the ocean ; but for a person to leave 
the whole and still to be in the whole, is an impossibility. 
But Homer says, that leaving the flow of the river, the 
ship entered on the waves of the sea, which is the same as the 
ocean. If you take it otherwise you make him say, that de- 
parting from the ocean he came to the ocean. But this re- 
quires further discussion. >j 

8. Perception and experience alike inform us, that the earth^^ 
we inhabit is an island : since wherever men have approached 
the termination of the land, the sea, which we designate ocean, 
has been met with : and reason assures us of the similarity of 
those places which our senses have not been permitted to sur- 
vey. For in the east 2 the land occupied by the Indians, and 
in the west by the Iberians and Maurusians, 3 is wholly en- 
compassed [by water], and so is the greater part on the south 4 
and north. 5 And as to what remains as yet unexplored by 
us, because navigators, sailing from opposite points, have not 
hitherto fallen in with each other, it is not much, as any one 
may see who will compare the distances between those places 
with which we are already acquainted. Nor is it likely that 
the Atlantic Ocean is divided into two seas by narrow 
isthmuses so placed as to prevent circumnavigation: how 
much more probable that it is confluent and uninterrupted ! 
Those who have returned from an attempt to circumnavigate 

1 This direction would indicate a gulf, the seaward side of which 
should be opposite the Libo-notus of the ancients. Now the mutilated 
passage of Crates has reference to the opening of the twelfth book of the 
Odyssey, descriptive of Ulysses' departure from Cimmeria, after his visit 
to the infernal regions. Those Cimmerians were the people who inha- 
bited Campania, and the land round Bam, near to lake Avernus, and the 
entrance into Hades. As these places are situated close to the bay of 
Naples, which occupies the exact position described by Crates, it is pro- 
bable this was the bay he intended. 

2 What Strabo calls the eastern side of the continent, comprises that 
portion of India between Cape Comorin and Tana-serim, to the west of 
the kingdom of Siam : further than which he was not acquainted. 

3 Strabo's acquaintance with Western Africa did not go further than 
Cape Nun, 214 leagues distant from the Strait of Gibraltar. 

4 By the south is intended the whole land from the Arabian Gulf or 
Red Sea to Cape Comorin. 

5 From Cape Finisterre to the mouth of the Elbe. 


the earth, do not say they have been prevented from con- 
tinuing their voyage by any opposing continent, for the sea re- 
mained perfectly open, but through want of resolution, and 
the scarcity of provision. This theory too accords better with 
the ebb and flow of the ocean, for the phenomenon, both in the 
increase and diminution, is every where identical, or at all 
events has but little difference, as if produced by the agita- 
tion of one sea, and resulting from one cause. 

9. We must not credit Hipparchus, who combats this opinion, 
denying that the ocean is every where similarly affected ; or that 
even if it were, it would not follow that the Atlantic flowed in 
a circle, and thus continually returned into itself. Seleucus, 
the Babvlonian, is his authority for this assertion. For a further 
investigation of the ocearTand its tides we refer to Posidonius 
and Athenodorus, who have fully discussed this subject : we 
will now only remark that this view agrees better with the uni- 
formity of the phenomenon ; and that the greater the amount 
of moisture surrounding the earth, the easier would the 
heavenly bodies be supplied with vapours from thence. 

10. Homer, besides the boundaries of the earth, which he 
fully describes, was likewise well acquainted with the Medi- 
terranean. Starting from the Pillars, 1 this sea is encom- 
passed by Libya, E^vpt, and Phoenicia, then by the coasts 
opposite Cyprus, the Solymi, 2 Lv_cia, and Caria, and then by 
the shore winch stretches between Mycale^and Troas, and 
the adjacent islands, every one of which he mentions, as well 
as those of the Propontis 4 and the Euxine, as far as Colchis, 
and the locality of Jason's expedition. Furthermore, he was 
acquainted with the Cimmerian Bosphorus, 5 having known 
the Cimmerians, 6 and that not merelyhSy name, but as being 
familiar with themselves. About his time, or a little be- 
fore, they had ravaged the whole country, from the Bos- 

1 The rocks of Gibraltar and Ceuta. 

2 The mountaineers of the Taurus, between Lycia and Pisidia. 

3 A mountain of Ionia near To~the Meander, and opposite the Isle of 

<T ~the Sea of Marmora. 

5 The Strait of Caffa, which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of 

6 The Cimmerians, spoken of in Homer, were undoubtedly the in- 
habitants of Campania, not those of the Bosphorus. 


phorus to Ionia. Their climate he characterizes as dismal, in 
the following lines : 

" With clouds and darkness veil'd, on whom the sun 
Deigns not to look with his beam-darting eye, 
* * * * 

But sad night canopies the woeful race." l 

He must also have been acquainted with the Ister, 2 since he 
speaks of the Mysians, a Thracian race, dwelling on the banks 
of the Ister. He knew also the whole Thracian 3 coast ad- 
jacent thereto, as far as the Peneus, 4 for he mentions indi- 
vidually the Preonians, Athos, the Axius, 5 and the neigh- 
bouring islands. From hence to Thesprotis 6 is the Grecian 
shore, with the whole of which he was acquainted. He was 
besides familiar with the whole of Italy, and speaks of Te- 
mese 7 and the Sicilians, as well as the Whole of Spain 8 and 
its fertility, as we have said, before. If he omits various in- 
termediate places this must be pardoned, for even the compiler 
of a Geography overlooks numerous details. We must for- 
give him too for intermingling fabulous narrative with his his- 
torical and instructive work. This should not be complained 
of ; nevertheless, what Eratosthenes says is false, that the 
poets aim at amusement, not instruction, since those who have 
treated upon the subject most profoundly, regard poesy in 
the light of a primitive philosophy. But we shall refute 
Eratosthenes 9 more at length, when we have occasion again 
to speak of Homer. 

1 They are covered with shadows and darkness, nor does the shining 

sun behold them with his beams but pernicious night 

is spread over hapless mortals. Odyssey xi. 15 and 19. 

The Danube. 

Ancient Thrace consisted of the modern provinces of Bulgaria and 

A river of Thessaly, named at present Salampria. 

Now the river Vardari. 

Thesprotis, in Epirus, opposite Corfu. 

Afterwards named Temsa. This town was in Citerior Calabria. 
Sone think Torre de Nocera stands on the ancient site. 

This is a misstatement, as before remarked. 

This writer occupies so prominent a position in Strabo's work, that 
no apology I think will be needed for the following extract from Smith's 
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 

"Eratosthenes of Cyrene was, according to Suidas, the son of Aglaus, 
according to others, the son of Ambrosius, and was born B. c. 276. He 
was taught by Ariston of Chius, the philosopher, Lysanias of Cyrene, the 
grammarian, and Callimachus, the poet. He left Athens at the invitation 


11. What we have already advanced is sufficient to prove 
the father^of geography. Those who followed in 

of Ptolemy Euergetes, who placed him over the library at Alexandria. 
Here he continued till the reign of Ptolemy Epiphanes. He died at the 
age of eighty, about B. c. 196, of voluntary starvation, having lost his 
sight, and being tired of life. He was a man of very extensive learning : 
we shall first speak of him as a geometer and astronomer. 

" It is supposed that Eratosthenes suggested to Ptolemy Euergetes the 
construction of the large armillte, or fixed circular instruments, which 
were long in use at Alexandria ; but only because it is difficult to imagine 
to whom else they are to be assigned, for Ptolemy the astronomer, though 
he mentions them, and incidentally their antiquity, does not state to whom 
they were due. In these circles each degree Avas divided into six parts. 
We know of no observations of Eratosthenes in which they were probably 
employed, except those which led him to the obliquity of the ecliptic, 
which he must have made to be 23 51' 20"; for he states the distance of 
the tropics to be eleven times the eighty -third part of the circumference. 
This was a good observation for the times. Ptolemy the astronomer was 
content with it, and according to him Hipparchus used no other. Of his 
measure of the earth we shall presently speak. According to Nicoma- 
chus, he was the inventor of the KOVKIVOV, or Cribrum Arithmeticum, as it 
has since been called, being the well-known method of detecting the 
prime numbers by writing down all odd numbers which do not end 
with 5, and striking out successively the multiples of each, one after the 
other, so that only prime numbers remain. 

" We still possess under the name of Eratosthenes a work, entitled 
KaraTtpioym, giving a slight account of the constellations, their fabulous 
history, and the stars in them. It is however acknowledged on all hands 
that this is not a work of Eratosthenes. * * * The only other writ- 
ing of Eratosthenes which remains, is a letter to Ptolemy on the dupli- 
cation of the cube, for the mechanical performance of which he had 
contrived an instrument, of which he seems to contemplate actual use in 
measuring the contents of vessels, &c. He seems to say that he has had 
his method engraved in some temple or public building, with some verses, 
which he adds. Eutocius has preserved this letter in his comment on 
book ii. prop. 2, of the sphere and cylinder of Archimedes. 

" The greatest work of Eratosthenes, and that which must always make 
his name conspicuous in scientific history, is the attempt which he made 
to measure the magnitude of the earth, in which he brought forward and 
used the method which is employed to this day. Whether or no he was 
successful cannot be told, as we shall see ; but it is not the less true that 
he was the originator of the process by which we now know, very nearly 
indeed, the magnitude of our own planet. Delambre says that if it were 
he who advised the erection of the circular instruments above alluded to, 
he must be considered as the founder of astronomy : to which it may be 
added, that he was the founder of geodesy without any if in the case. 
The number of ancient writers who have alluded to this remarkable oper- 
ation (which seems to have obtained its full measure of fame) is very great, 
and we shall not attempt to combine their remarks or surmises : it is 
enough to say that the most distinct account, and one of the earliest, is 
found in the remaining work of Cleomedes. 


his track are also well known as great men and true philoso- 
phers. The two immediately succeeding Homer, according 

" At Syene in Upper Egypt, which is supposed to be the same as, or near 
to, the town of Assouan, (Lat. 24 10' N., Long. 32 59' E. of Greenwich,) 
Eratosthenes was told (that he observed is very doubtful) that deep w^ells 
were enlightened to the bottom on the day of the summer solstice, and 
that vertical objects cast no shadows. He concluded therefore, that Syehe 
was on the tropic, and its latitude equal to the obliquity of the ecliptic, 
which, as we have seen, he had determined : he presumed that it was in 
the same longitude as Alexandria, in which he was out about 3, which 
is not enough to produce what would at that time have been a sensible 
error. By observations made at Alexandria, he determined the zenith of 
that place to be distant by the fiftieth part of the circumference from the 
solstice, which was equivalent to saying that the arc of the meridian be- 
tween the two places is 7 12'. Cleomedes says that he used the (TKO^J/, 
or hemispherical dial of Berosus, in the determination of this latitude. 
Delambre rejects the idea with infinite scorn, and pronounces Cleomedes 
unworthy of credit ; and indeed it is not easy to see why Eratosthenes 
should have rejected the gnomon and the large circular instruments, un- 
less, perhaps, for the following reason. There is a sentiment of Cleomedes 
which seems to imply that the disappearance of the shadows at Syene on 
the day of the summer solstice was noticed to take place for 300 stadia 
every way round Syene. If Eratosthenes took his report about the phe- 
nomenon (and we have no evidence that he went to Syene himself) from 
those who could give no better account than this, we may easily under- 
stand why he would think the GKCL^I] quite accurate enough to observe 
with at his own end of the arc, since the other end of it was uncertain by 
as much as 300 stadia. He gives 500 stadia for the distance from Alex- 
andria to Syene, and this round number seems further to justify* us in 
concluding that he thought the process to be as rough as in truth it was. 
Martianus Capella states that he obtained this distance from the measures 
made by order of the Ptolemies (which had been commenced by Alex- 
ander) : this writer then implies that Eratosthenes did not go to Syene 

" The result is 250,000 stadia for the circumference of the earth, which 
Eratosthenes altered into 252,000, that his result might give an exact 
number of stadia for the degree, namely, 700 ; this of course should 
have been 694|. Pliny calls this 31,500 Roman miles, and therefore 
supposes the stadium to be the eighth part of a Roman mile, or takes 
for granted that Eratosthenes used the Olympic stadium. It is likely 
enough that the Ptolemies naturalized this stadium in Egypt ; but never- 
theless, it is not unlikely that an Egyptian stadium was employed. If 
we assume the Olympic stadium, (202 yards,) the degree of Eratos- 
thenes is more than 79 miles, upwards of 10 miles too great. Nothing 
is known of any Egyptian stadium. Pliny asserts that Hipparchus, but 
for what reason he does not say, wanted to add 25,000 stadia to the cir- 
cumference as found by Eratosthenes. According to Plutarch, Eratos- 
thenes made the sun to be 804 millions of stadia from the earth, and the 
moon 780,000. According to Macrobius, he made the diameter of the 
sun to be 27 times that of the earth. With regard to the other merits of 



to Eratosthenes, were Anaximander, the disciple and fellow- 
citizen of Thales, and Hecatasus the Milesian. Anaximander 

Eratosthenes, we must first of all mention what he did for geography, 
which was closely connected with his mathematical pursuits. It was 
Eratosthenes who raised geography to the rank of a science ; for previ- 
ous to his time it seems to have consisted, more or less, of a mass of in- 
formation scattered in books of travel, descriptions of particular countries, 
and the like. All these treasures were accessible to Eratosthenes in the 
libraries of Alexandria ; and he made the most profitable use of them, 
by collecting the scattered materials, and uniting them into an organic 
system of geography, in his comprehensive work entitled Tewypa^tica, or 
as it is sometimes but erroneously called, ytwypa^otJ/ifj/a or yfwypa^ta. 
It consisted of three books, the first of which, forming a sort of Intro- 
duction, contained a critical review of the labours of his predecessors 
from the earliest to his own times, and investigations concerning the form 
and nature of the earth, which, according to him, was an immoveable 
globe, on the surface of which traces of a series of great revolutions were 
still visible. He conceived that in one of these revolutions the Mediter- 
ranean had acquired its present form ; for according to him it was at one 
time a large lake covering portions of the adjacent countries of Asia and 
Libya, until a passage was forced open by which it entered into commu- 
nication with the ocean in the west. The second book contained what is 
now called mathematical geography. His attempt to measure the magni- 
tude of the earth has been spoken of above. The third book contained 
the political geography, and gave descriptions of the various countries, 
derived from the works of earlier travellers and geographers. In order 
to be able to determine the accurate site of each place, he drew a line 
parallel with the equator, running from the Pillars of Hercules to the 
extreme east of Asia, and dividing the whole of the inhabited earth into 
two halves. Connected with this work was a new map of the earth, in 
which towns, mountains, rivers, lakes, and climates were marked accord- 
ing to his own improved measurements. This important work of Eratos- 
thenes forms an epoch in the history of ancient geography : but unfor- 
tunately it is lost, and all that has survived consists in fragments quoted 
by later geographers and historians, such as Polybius, Strabo, Marcianus, 
Pliny, and others, who often judge of him unfavourably, and controvert 
his statements ; while it can be proved that in a great many passages they 
adopt his opinions without mentioning his name. Marcianus charges 
Eratosthenes with having copied tBe substance of the work of Timos- 
thenes on Ports, (irfpi Xt/isvw?',) to which he added but very little of his 
own. This charge may be well-founded, but cannot have diminished the 
value of the work of Eratosthenes, in which that of Timosthenes can 
have formed only a very small portion. It seems to have been the very 
overwhelming importance of the geography of Eratosthenes, that called 
forth a number of opponents, among whom we meet with the names of 
Polemon, Hipparchus, Polybius, Serapion, and Marcianus of Heracleia. 
* * * Another work of a somewhat similar nature, entitled 'Epjwi/c, was 
written in verse, and treated of the form of the earth, its temperature, 
the different zones, the constellations, and the like. * * * Eratosthenes 
distinguished himself also as a philosopher, historian, grammarian, &c." 

CHAP. i. $ 12-14. INTRODUCTION. 

was the first to publish a geo<rraphical_chart. Heca' 

a work [on the same subject], wliich we" can identity ao ms 

by means of his other writings. 

12. Many have testified to the amount of knowledge which 
this subject requires, and Hipparchus, in his Strictures on 
Eratosthenes, well observes, " that no one can become really 
proficient in geography, either as a private individual or as a 
professor, without an acquaintance with astronomy, and a 
knowledge of eclipses. For instance, no one could tell whe- 
ther Alexandria~~m Egypt were north or south of Babylon, 
nor yet the intervening distance, without observing the lati- 
tudes. 1 Again, the only means we possess of becoming ac- 

"quainted with the longitudes of different places is afforded by 
the eclipses of the sun and moon." Such are the very words 
of Hipparchus. 

13. Every one who undertakes to give an accurate descrip- 
tion of a place, should be particular to add its astronomical 
and geometrical relations, explaining carefully its extent, dis- 
tance, degrees of latitude, and " climate." 2 Even a builder 
before constructing a house, or an architect before laying out 
a city, wxmld take these things into consideration ; much 
more should he who examines the whole earth : for such 
things in a peculiar manner belong to him. In small dis- 
tances a little deviation north or south does not signify, but 
when it is the whole circle of the earth, the north extends to 
the furthest confines of Scv.thia, 3 or Keltica, 4 and the south to 
the extremities of Ethiopia : there is" a wide difference here. 
The case is the same~~sliould we inhabit India or Spain, one 
in the east, the other far w^est, and, as we are aware, life anti- 
podes 5 to each other. 

14. The [motions] of the sun and stars, and the centripetal 

1 The ancients "portioned out the globe by bands or zones parallel to 
the equator, which they named K\ip.ara. The extent of each zone was 
determined by the length of the solstitial day, and thus each diminished 
in extent according as it became more distant from the equator. The 
moderns have substituted a mode of reckoning the degrees by the eleva- 
tion of the pole, which gives the latitudes with much greater accuracy. 

2 Literally, the heat, cold, and temperature of the atmosphere. 

3 Tartary. 4 Frajipc. 

Kylander and Casaubon remark that Strabohere 
use of the term antipodes ; the antipodes of Spain and India being" in 

5 Xylander and Casaubon remark that Strabo here makes an improper 
se of the term antipodes 
the southern hemisphere. 


force meet us on the very threshold of such subjects, and 
compel us to the study of astronomy, and the observation of 
such phenomena as each of us may notice ; in which too, very 
considerable differences appear, according to the various 
points of observation. How could any one undertake to 
write accurately and with propriety on the differences of the 
various parts of the earth, who was ignorant of these matters ? 
and although, if the undertaking were of a popular charac- 
ter, it might not be advisable to enter thoroughly into detail, 
still we should endeavour to include every thing which could 
be comprehended by the general reader. 

15. He who has thus elevated his mind, will he be satisfied 
with any thing less than the whole world ? If in his anxiety 
accurately to portray the inhabited earth, he has dared to 
survey heaven, and make use thereof for purposes of instruc- 
tion, would it not seem childish were he to refrain from ex- 
amining -the whole earth, of which the inhabited is but a part, 
its size, its features, and its position in the universe ; whether 
other portions are inhabited besides those on which we dwell, 
and if so, their amount ? What is the extent of the regions 
not peopled ? what their peculiarities, and the cause of their 
remaining as they are ? Thus it appears that the knowledge 
of geography is connected with meteorology ] and geometry, 
that it unites the things of earth to the things of heaven, as 
though they were nearly allied, and not separated. 

" As far as heaven from earth." 2 

16. To the various subjects which it embraces let us add 
natural history, or the history of the animals, plants, and 
other~cftfferent productions oT the earth and~sea, whether ser- 
viceable or useless, and my original statement will, I think, 
carry perfect conviction with it. 

That he who should undertake this work would be a bene- 
factor to mankind, reason and the voice of antiquity agree. 
The poets feign that they were the wisest heroes who tra- 
velled and wandered most in foreign climes : and to be fami- 
liar with many countries, and the disposition of the inhabitants, 
is, according to them, of vast importance. Nestor prides him- 

1 Meteorology, from juercwpoc, aloft, is the science which describes and 
explains the various phenomena which occur in the region of the atmos- 

2 Homer, Iliad viii. 16. 


self on having associated with the Lapithae, 1 to whon 
" having been invited thither from the Apian 2 land 
So does Menelaus : 

<( Cyprus, Phoenicia, Sidon, and the shores 

Of Egypt, roaming without hope I reach'd ; 

In distant Ethiopia thence arrived, 

And Lib^'a, where the lambs their foreheads show 

With budding horns defended soon as yean'd." 3 

Adding as a peculiarity of the country, 

" There thrice within the year the flocks produce."* Y 

And of Egypt : " Where the sustaining earth is most pro- 
lific." 5 And Thebes, 

" the city with an hundred gates, 
Whence twenjjMLhousand chariots rush to war." 6 

Such information greatly enlarges our sphere of knowledge, 
by informing us of the nature of the country, its botanical and 
zoological peculiarities. To these should be added its marine 
history ; for we are in a certain sense amphibious, not exclu- 
sively connected with the land, but with the sea as well. 
Hercules, on account of his vast experience and observation, 
was described as " skilled in mighty works." 7 

All that we have previously stated is confirmed both by the 
testimony of antiquity and by reason. fOne consideration 
however appears to bear in a peculiar manner on the case in 
point ; viz. the importance of geography in a political view. 
For the sea and the earth in which we dwell furnish theatres 

1 A people of Thessaly, on the banks of the Peneus. 

2 The former name of the Morea, and more ancient than Peloponnesus. 
Iliad i. 270. 

3 Having wandered to Cyprus, and Phoenice, and the Egyptians, I 
came to the Ethiopians, and Sidonians, and Erembi, and Libya, where 
the lambs immediately become horned. Odyssey iv. 83. 

4 Odyssey iv. 86. 
3 Homer says, 

ry TrXtTcrra (p'spei ^ti'^wpoc dpovpa 

fcapjuaica. Odyssey iv. 229. 

Which Cowper properly renders : 

" Egypt teems 

With drugs of various powers. " 

Strabo, by omitting the word (pap^aica from his citation, alters to a 
certain degree the meaning of the sentence. 

6 Iliad ix. 383, et seq. 7 Odyssey xxi. 26. 



for action ; limited, for limited actions ; vast, for grander 
deeds ; but that which contains them all, and is the scene of 
the greatest undertakings, constitutes what we term the habit- 
able earth ; and they are the greatest generals who, subduing 
nations and kingdoms under one sceptre, and one political 
administration, have acquired dominion over land and sea. It is 
clear then, that geography is essential to all the transactions of 
the statesman, informing us, as it does, of the position of the 
continents, seas, and oceans of the whole habitable earth. In- 
formation of especial interest to those who are concerned to 
know the exact truth of such particulars, and whether the places 
have been explored or not : for government will certainly be bet- 
ter administered where the size and position of the country, its 
own peculiarities, and those of the surrounding districts, are 
understood. Forasmuch as there are many sovereigns who rule 
in different regions, and some stretch their dominion overofrhers' 
territories, and undertake the government of different nations 
and kingdoms, and thus enlarge the extent of their dominion, 
it is not possible that either themselves, nor yet writers on 
geography, should be equally acquainted with the whole, but 
to both there is a great deal more or less known. Indeed, 
were the whole earth under one government and one adminis- 
tration, it is hardly possible that we should be informed of 
every locality in an equal degree; for even then we should be 
most acquainted with the places nearest us : and after all, it 
is better that we should have a more perfect description of 
these, since, on account of their proximity, there is greater 
need for it. We see there is no reason to be surprised that 
there should be one chorographer l for the Indians, another for 
the Ethiopians, and a third for the Greeks and Romans. 
What use would it be to the Indians if a geographer should 
thus describe Boeotia to them, in the words of Homer : 

" The dwellers on the rocks 
Of Aulis follow'd, with the hardy clans 
Of Hyria, Schcenus, Scolus." 2 

To us this is of value, while to be acquainted with the Indies 

1 Chorography, a term used by Greek writers, meaning the description 
of particular districts. 

2 Iliad ii. 496. Four cities of Boeotia. The present name of Aulis is 
Vathi, situated on the Strait of Negropont The modern names of the 
other three cities are unknown. 


and their various territorial divisions would be use 
could lead to no advantage, which is the only criter 
worth of such knowledge. 

17. Even if we descend to the consideration of such trivial 
matters as hunting, the case is still the same ; for he will be 
most successful in the chase who is acquainted with the size 
and nature of the wood, and one familiar with the locality 
will be the most competent to superintend an encampment, 
an ambush, or a march. But it is in great undertakings that 
the truth shines out in all its brilliancy, for here, while the 
success resulting from knowledge is grand, the consequences 
of ignorance are disastrous. The fleet of Agamemnon, for in- 
stance, ravaging Mysia, as if it had been the Trojan territory, 
was compelled to a shameful retreat. Likewise the Persians 
and Libyans, 1 supposing certain straits to be impassable, were 
very near falling into great perils, and have left behind them 
memorials of their ignorance; the former a monument to 
Salganeus on the Euripus, near Chalcis, whom the Persians 
slew, for, as they thought, falsely conducting their fleet from the 
Gulf of Malea 2 to the Euripus ; and the latter to the memory 
of Pelorus, who was executed on a like occasion. At the time 
of the expedition of Xerxes, the coasts of Greece were covered 
with wrecks, and the emigrations from JEolia and Ionia furn- 
ish numerous instances of the same calamity. On the other 
hand, matters have come to a prosperous termination, when 
judiciously directed by a knowledge of the locality. Thus it 
was at the pass of Thermopylae that Ephialtes is reported to 
have pointed out to the Persians a pathway over the moun- 
tains, and so placed the band of Leonidas at their mercy, and 
opened to the Barbarians a passage into Pylae. But passing 
over ancient occurrences, we think that the late expeditions 

1 By Libyans are here intended Carthaginians. The events alluded to Y 
by Strabo may be found in Pomponius Mela and Valerius Maximus, whose 
accounts however do not entirely accord. That of Valerius Maximus, who 

is followed by Servius, tells us that Hannibal, on his return to Africa, 
observed his pilot Pelorus was taking the sEips by the coast of Italy, and 
suspecting him therefore of treachery, caused him to be executed. He 
did not know at the time the intention of Pelorus to take him through 
the Strait of Messina, but afterwards, when aware of the excellence of the 
passage, caused a monument It) be raised to the memory of the unfor- 
tunate pilot. Strabo, in his ninth book, gives us the history of Salganeus, 
and the monument erected to him on the shores of Negropont. 

2 The Gulf of Zeitun. 

VOL. I. C 



of the Romans against the Parthians furnish an excellent ex- 
ample, where, as in those against the Germans and Kelte, the 
Barbarians, taking advantage of their situation, [carriecTon the 
war] in marsjies, woods, and pathless deserts, deceiving the 
ignorant enemy as to the position of different places, and con- 
cealing the roads, and the means of obtaining food and 

18. As we have said, this science has an especial reference 
to the occupations and requirements of statesmen, with whom 
also political and ethical philosophy is mainly concerned ; and 
here is an evidence. We distinguish the different kinds of 
civil government by the office of their chief men, denominat- 
ing one government a monarchy, or kingdom, another an 
aristocracy, a third a democracy ; for so many we consider 
are the forms of government, and we designate them by 
these names, because from them they derive their primary 
characteristic. For the laws which emanate from the sove- 
reign, from the aristocracy, and from the people all are differ- 
ent. The law is in fact a type of the form of government. 
It is on this account that some define right to be the in- 
terest of the strongest. If, therefore, political philosophy 
is advantageous to the ruler, and geography in the actual 
government of the country, this latter seems to possess some 
little superiority. This superiority is most observable in 
real service. 

19. But even the theoretical portion of geography is by no 
means contemptible. On the one hand, it embraces the arts^ 
mathematics, and natural, science ; on the other, history and 
fa^le. Not that this latter can have any distinct advantage : 
for instance, if any one should relate to us the wanderings of 
Ulysses, Menelaus, and Jason, he would not seem to have 
added directly to our fund of practical knowledge thereby, 
(which is the only thing men of the world are interested in,) 
unless he should convey useful examples of what those wan- 
derers were compelled to suffer, and at the same time afford 
matter of rational amusement to those who interest themselves 
in the places which gave birth to such fables. Practical men 
interest themselves in these pursuits, since they are at once 
commendable, and afford them pleasure ; but yet not to any 
great extent. In this class, too, will be found those whose 
main object in life is pleasure and respectability : but these 


by no means constitute the majority of mankind, wl 
ally prefer that which holds out some direct advantage. The 
geographer should therefore chiefly devote himself to what is 
practically important. He should follow the same rule in 
regard to history and the mathematics, selecting always 
that which is most useful, most intelligible, and most au- 

20. Geometry and astronomy, as we before remarked, seem 
absolutely indispensable in this science. This, in fact, is evi- 
dent, that without some such assistance, it would be impossi- 
ble to be accurately acquainted with the configuration of the 
earth ; its climat a, l dimensions, and the like information. 

As the size of the earth has been demonstrated by other 
writers, we shall here take for granted and receive as accurate 
what they have advanced. We shall also assume that the 
earth is spheroidal, that its surface is likewise""spheroidal, and 
above all, that bodies have a tendency towards its centre, 
which latter point is clear to the perception of the most aver- 
age understanding. However we may show summarily that 
the earth is spheroidal, from the consideration that all things 
however distant tend to its centre, and that every body is at- 
tracted towards its^ centre 
pToved from observations 
evidence of the senses, and common observation, is alone re- 
quisite. The convexity of the sea is a further proof of this 
to those who have sailed ; for tliey cannot perceive lights at a 
distance when placed at the same_level as tKeTr J^yes, but if 
raised on^high, they at once become perceptible to vision, 
tKough at the same time further removed. So, when the eye 
is raised, it sees what before was utterly imperceptible. 
Homer speaks of this when he says, 

Lifted up on the vast wave he quickly beheld afar. 2 

Sailors, as they approach their destination, behold the shore 
continually raising itself to their view ; and objects which 
had at first seemed low, begin to elevate themselves. Our 
gnomons, also, are, among other things, evidence of the revolu- 
tiorfof the heavenly bodies ; and common seTTse at once shows us, 

1 Vide preceding note on this word, p. 13, n. 1. 

2 Odyssey v. 393. 

c 2 

5 centre, and that every body is at- 
of Jjravity ; this is more distinctly 
of the sea and sky, for here the 


that if the depth of the earth were infinite, 1 such a revolution 


'Every information respecting the climata 2 is contained in 
the " Treatises on Positions." 3 

21. Now there are some facts which we take to be estab- 
lished, viz. those with which every politician and general 
should be familiar. For on no account should they be so 
uninformed as to the heavens and the position of the earth, 4 
that when they are in strange countries, where some of the 
heavenly phenomena wear a different aspect to what they 
have been accustomed, they should be in a consternation, and 

" Neither west 

Know we, nor east, where rises or where sets 
The all-enlightening sun." 5 

Still, we do -not expect that they should be such thorough 
masters of the subject as to know what stars rise and set 
together for the different quarters of the earth ; those which 
have the same meridian line, the elevation of the poles, the 
signs which are in the zenith, with all the various phenomena 
which differ as well in appearance as reality with the varia- 
tions of the horizon and arctic circle. With some of these 
matters, unless as philosophical pursuits, they should not bur- 
den themselves at all ; others they must take for granted with- 
out searching into their causes. This must be left to the care 
of the philosopher ; the statesman can have no leisure, or very 
little, for such pursuits. Those who, through carelessness and 
ignorance, are not familiar with the glo^e and the circles 
traced uponjt, some parallel to each other, some at right 
angles to the former, others, again, in an oblique direction ; 
nor yet with the position of the trogics, equator, and zodiac, 
(that circle through which the sun travels in his course, and 
by which we reckon the changes of season and the winds,) 
such persons we caution against the perusal of our work. For 

1 Allusion is here made to the theory of Xenophanes of Colophon and 
Anaximenes his disciple, who imagined the earth bore the form of a vast 
mountain, inhabited at the summit, but whose roots stretched into in- 
finity. The Siamese at the present day hold a similar idea. 

2 See note l , p. 13. 3 Iltpi ru>v OIK^CTEWV. 

4 Meaning, the different appearances of the heavenly bodies at various 
parts of the earth. 

5 Odyssey x. 190. 


if a man is neither properly acquainted with ti 
nor with the variations of the horizon and arctic 
such similar elements of mathematics, how ca> 
prehend the matters treated of here ? So for one wno does 
not know a right line from a curve, nor yet a circle, nor a 
plane or spherical surface, nor the seven stars in the firm- 
ament composing the Great Bear, and such like, our work is 
entirely useless, at least for the present. Unless he first ac- 
quires such information, he is utterly incompetent to the study 
of geography. * So those who have written the works en- 
titled " On Ports," and " Voj^ges Roufld the V^orld," have 
performed their task imperfectly, since they have omitted to 
supply the requisite information from mathematics and as- 
tronomy.* l 

"22. The present undertaking is composed in a lucid style, 
suitable alike to the statesman and the general reader, after 
the fashion of nwHisiory. 2 By a statesman we do not intend 
an illiterate person, but one who has gone through the course 
of a liberal and philosophical education. For a man who has 
bestowed no attention on virtue or intelligence, nor what 
constitutes them, must be incompetent either to blame or 
praise, still less to decide what actions are worthy to be placed 
on record. 

23. Having already compiled o^ur Historical Memoirs, which, 
as we conceive, are a valuable addition both to political and 
moral philosophy, we have now determined to follow itjip with 
the present work, which has been prepared on the same sy_s-^ 
tern as tn"e former, and for the same class of readers, but more 
particularly for those who are in high stations of life. And 
as our former production contains only the most striking 
events in the lives of distinguished men, omitting trifling and 
unimportant incidents ; so here it will be proper to dismiss 
small and doubtful particulars, and merely call attention 
to great and remarkable transactions, such in fact as are use- 

1 This sentence has been restored to what was evidently its original 
position. In the Greek text it appears immediately before section 23, 
commencing, " Having already compiled," &c. The alteration is borne 
out by the French and German translators. 

2 Strabo here alludes to his 'Icrropiica 'IVo^vT/ftara, cited by Plutarch 
(Lucullus, 28, Sulla. 26). This work, in forty-three books, began where 
the HistOTfof Polypius ended, and was probably continued to the battle *. 
of Actium. Smith, Gr. and Rom. Biog. 


ful, memorable, and entertaining. In the colossal works of 
the sculptor we do not descend into a minute examination of 
particulars, but look principally for perfection in the general 
ensemble. This is the only method of criticism applicable to 
the present work. Its proportions, so to speak, are colossal ; it 
deals in the generalities and main outlines of things, except 
now and then, when some minor detail can be selected, calcu- 
lated to be serviceable to the seeker after knowledge, or the 
man of business. 

We now think we have demonstrated that our present un- 
dertaking is one that requires great care, and is well worthy 
of a philosopher. 


1. No one can [justly] blame us for having undertaken to 
write on a subject already often treated of, unless it appears 
that we have done nothing more than copy the works of former 
writers. In our opinion, though they may have perfectly 
treated some subjects, in others they have still left much to 
be completed ; and we shall be justified in our performance, 
if we can add to their information even in a trifling degree. 
At the present moment the conquests of the Romans and Par- 
thians have added much to our knowledge, which (as was well 
observed by Eratosthenes) had been considerably increased by 
the expedition of Alexander. This prince laid open to our 
view the greater part of Asia, and the whole north of Europe 
as far as the Danube. And the Romans [have discovered Cous] 
the entire wesToF Eupope as far as the river Elbe, which di- 
vides Germany, and the country beyond theTster to the river 
Dniester. The country beyond this to the MaBOtis, 1 and the 
coasts extending along Colchis, 2 was brought to light by Mithri- 
dates, surnamed Eupator, and his generals. To the Parthians 
we are indebted for a better acquaintance with Hyrcania, 3 Bac- 

1 The Sea of Azof. 2 Mingrelia ; east of the Euxine. 

3 A large country of Asia to the south of the eastern part of the Cas- 
pian Sea. It became much restricted during the Parthian rule, contain- 


triana, 1 and the land of the Scythians 2 lying beyond 
before we knew but little. Thus we can add much ii 
not supplied by former writers, but this will best be seen wiien 
we come to treat on the writers who have preceded us ; and 
this method we shall pursue, not so much in regard to the 
primitive geographers, as to Eratosthenes and those subsequent 
to him. As these writers far surpassed the generality in the 
amount of their knowledge, so naturally it is more difficult to 
detect their errors when such occur. If I seem to contradict 
those most whom I take chiefly for my guides, I must claim 
indulgence on the plea, that it w r as never intended to criticise 
the whole body of geographers, the larger number of whom 
are not worthy of consideration, but to give an opinion of 
those only who are generally found correct. Still, while 
many are beneath discussion, such men as Eratosthenes. Po- 
sidonius, Hipparchus, Poly^bius, and others of their stamp, 
deserve our hignjest consideration. 

2. Let us first examine Eratosthenes, reviewing at the same 
time what Hipparchus has advanced against him. Eratos- 
thenes is much too creditable an historian for us to believe 
what Polemon endeavours to charge against him, that he had 
not even seen Athens. At the same time he does not merit 
that unbounded confidence which some seem to repose in him, 
although, as he himself tells us, he passed much of his time 
with first-rate [characters]. Never, says he, at one period, 
and in one city, were there so many philosophers flourishing 
together as in my time. In their number was Ariston and 
Arcesilaus. This, however, it seems is not sufficient, nbut you 
musTalso be able to choose who are the real guides whom it is 
your interest to follow. He considers Arcesilaus and Ariston 
to be the coryphaei of the philosophers who flourished in his 
time, and is ceaseless in his eulogies of Apelles and Bion, 

ing only the north of Comis, east of Masanderan, the country near Corcan 
or Jorjan, (Dshiordshian, ) and the west of the province of Khorassan. 

1 A country of Asia, on the west bounded by Aria, south by the moun- 
tains of Paropamisus, east by the Emodi montes, north by Sogdiana, 
now belongs to the kingdom of Afhganistan. Bactriana was anciently 
the centre of Asiatic commerce. 

2 A general name given by the Greeks and Romans to a large portion 
of Asia, and divided by them into Scythia intra et extra Imaum, that is, 
on either side of Mount Imaus. This mountain is generally thought to 
answer to the Himalaya mountains of Thibet. 



the latter of whom, says he, was the first to deck himself in 
the flowers of philosophy, but concerning whom one is often 
likewise tempted to exclaim, " How great is Bion in spite of 
his rags ! " 1 It is in such instances as the following that the 
mediocrity of his genius shows itself. 

Although at Athens he became a disciple of Zeno 2 of 
Citium, he makes no mention of his followers ; while those 
who opposed that philosopher, and of whose sect not a trace 
remains, he thinks fit to set down amongst the [great charac- 
ters] who flourished in his time. His real character appears 
in his Treatise on Moral Philosophy, 3 his Meditations, and 
some similar productions. He seems to have held a middle 
course between the man who devotes himself to philosophy, 
and the man who cannot make up his mind to dedicate hjm- 
self to it : and to have studied the science merely as a relief 
from*liTs other pursuits, or as a pleasing and instructive recre- 
ation. In his other writings he is just the same; but let 
these things pass. We will now proceed as well as we can to 
the task of rectifying his geography. 

First, then, let us return to the point which we lately de- 

3. Eratosthenes says that the poet directs his whole atten- 
tion to the amusement of the mind, and not at all to its in- 
struction. In opposition to his idea, the anpients define poesy 
a,s a primjtive philosophy, guiding our lijeTrom infancy, and 
pleasantly regulating our morals, our tastes, and our actions. 
*The [Stoj-es] oT'our day affirm that the only^ wise man is the 
poet. On this account the earliest lessons which the citizens 
oF Greece convey to their children are from the poets ; cer- 

1 This seems to be a paraphrase of Homer's verse on Ulysses, Odyssey 
xviii. 74. 

O'irjv K paiciwv 6 yepwv tTTiyovvida <f>aivei. 

What thews 
And what a haunch the senior's tatters hide. 


2 Zeno, of Citium, a city in the island of Cyprus, founded by Phoenician 
settlers, was the son of Mnaseas. 

3 Hepi rutv 'AyaOaiv, is the title given by Strabo, but we find from 
Harpocrates and Clemens Alexandrinus, that properly it was Hepi 'Aya- 

Kai KctKuiv, or " Conceniinj^Go/)d and EyjJJThmgs," which we have 
rendered in the text " Morarphiloiophy." 


tainly not alone for the purpose of amusing their mine 
for their instruction. Nay, even the professors of music, who 
give lessons on the harp, lyre, and pipe, lay claim to our con- 
sideration on the same account, since they say that [the ac- 
complishments which they teach] are calculated to form and 
improve the character. It is not only among the Pythagoreans 
that one hears this claim supported, for Aristoxenus is of that 
opinion, and Homer too regarded the bards as amongst the 
wjgest of mankind. 

Of this number was the guardian of Clytemnestra, " to 
whom the s_on of Atreus, when he set out forTroy, gave 
earnest charge to preserve his ,wife," 1 whom ^Egisthus was 
unabje to seduce, until " leading the bard to a desert island, 
heleft him," 2 and then 

" The queen he led, not willing less than he, 
To his own mansion." 3 

But apart from all such considerations, Eratosthenes con- 
tradicts himself; for a little previously to the sentence which 
we have quoted, at the commencement of his Essay on Geo- 
graphy, he says, that " all the ancient poets took delight in 
showing their knowledge of such matters. Homer inserted 
into his poetry all that he knew about the Ethiopians, Egypt, 
and Libya. Of all that related to Greece and the neighbour- 
ing places he entered even too minutely into the details, de- 
scribing Thisbe as " abounding in doves," Haliartus, " grassy," 
Anthedon, the " far distant," Litaea, " situated on the sources 
of the Cephissus," 4 and none of his epithets are without their 
meaning." But in pursuing this method, what object has he 
in view, to amuse [merely], or to instruct ? The latter, doubt- 
less. Well, perhaps he has told the truth in these instances, 
but in what was beyond his observation both he and the other 
writers have indulged in all the marvels of fable. If such be 
the case the statement should have been, that the poets relate 
some things for mere amusement, others for instruction ; but 
he affirms that they do it altogether for amusement, without 
any view to information ; and by way of climax, inquires, 
What can it add to Homer's worth to be familiar with many 

1 Odyssey iii. 267. 2 Ib. iii. 270. 3 Ib. iii. 272. 

4 Thisbe, Haliartus, Anthedon, cities of Boeotia; Litaea, a city of Phocis. 
The Cephissus, a large river, rising in the west of Phocis. 



lands, and skilled in strategy, agriculture, rhetoric, and simi- 
lar information, which some persons seem desirous to make 
him possessed of. To seek to invest him with all this know- 
ledge is most likely the effect of too great a zeal for his honour. 
Hipparchus observes, that to assert he was acquainted with 
every art and science, is like saying that an Attic eiresion& l 
bears pears and apples. 

As far as this goes, Eratosthenes, you are right enough ; 
not so, however, when you not only deny that Homer was 
possessed of these vast acquirements, but represent poetry in 
general as a tissue of old wives' fables, where, to use your 
own expression, every thing thought likely to amuse is 
cooked up. I ask, is it of no value to the auditors 2 of the 
poets to be made acquainted with [the history of] different 
countries, with strategy, agriculture, and rhetoric, and such- 
like things, which the lecture generally contains. 

4. One thing is certain, that the poet has bestowed all these 
gifts upon Ulysses, whom beyond any of his other [heroes] 
he loves to adorn with every virtue. He says of him, that he 

" Discover'd various cities, and the mind 
And manners learn'd of men in lands remote." 3 

That he was 

" Of a piercing^wit and deeply wise."* 

He is continually described as " the destroyer of cities," and 
as having vanquished Troy, by his counsels, his advice, and 
his deceptive art. Diomede says of him, 

" Let him attend me, and through fire itself 
We shall return ; for none is wise as he." 5 

He prides himself on his skill in husbandry, for at the har- 
vest [he says], 

1 A harvest-wreath of laurel or olive wound round with wool, and 
adorned with fruits, borne about by singing-boys at the Hvavt-fyia and 
6apy?7\ia, while offerings were made to Helios and the Hours : it was 
afterwards hung up at the house-door. The song was likewise called 
eiresione, which became the general name for all begging-songs. 

2 Auditors,] a.Kpow/igj/oig. In Greece there was a class of lectures 
where the only duty of the professors was to explain the works of the 
poets, and point out the beauties which they contained. The students 
who attended these lectures were styled a*cpoarae, or auditors, and the 
method of instruction a*:p6a<7ic. 

3 Odyssey i 3. * Iliad iii. 202. s Ib. x. 246. 


" I with my well-bent sickle in my hand, 
Thou arm'd with, one as keen." l 

And also in tillage, 

" Then shonldst thou see 
How straight my furrow should be cut and true." 2 

And Homer was not singular in his opinion regarding 
these matters, for all educated people appeal to him in favour 
of the idea that such practical knowledge is one of the chief 
means of acquiring understanding. 

5. That eloquence is regarded as the wisdom of sgeech, 
Ulysses manifests throughout the whole poem, both in the 
Trial, 3 the Petitions, 4 and the Embassy. 5 Of him it is said by 

" But when he spake, forth from his breast did flow 
A torrent swift as winter's feather'd snow." 6 

Who can suppose that a poet capable of effectively intro- 
ducing into his scenes rhetonCfens, generals, and various other 
characters, each displacing some peculiar excellence, was na- 
thing more than a dipll or juggler, "capable only of cheating 
or flattering his hearer, and notjof instructing hjm. 

Are we not all agreed that the chiej^merit of a poej; con ^ 

sists in his accurate representation of the antics of litp ? Can 
this be done by a mere driveller, unacquainted with the world ? 
The excellence of a goej is not to be measured by the sajoe 
standard asTEat of a mecjianic or a blacksmith, where hojiour 
and~"vTrtue have nothing to do with our_estimate. But the 
poet and the individual are connected, and he only can be- 
come a good_j)oet, who is in the firsj^ instance a worthy man. 
^6. To denytKat our poet possesses the graces of oratory is 
using us hardly indeed. What is so befitting an orator, what 
so poetical as eloquence, and who so sweetly eloquent as Ho- 
mer ? But, by heaven ! you'll say, there are other styles of 
eloquence than those peculiar to poetry. Of course [I admit 
this] ; in poetry itself there is the tragic and the comic style ; 
in prose, the historic and the forensic. But is not language 

1 Odyssey xviii. 367. 2 Ib. xviii. 374. 

3 The second book of the Iliad. 4 The ninth book of the Iliad. 

5 The deputation of Menelaus and Ulysses to demand back Helen, 
alluded to by Antenor, in the third book of the Iliad. 

6 But when he did send forth the mighty voice from his breast, and 
words like unto wintry flakes of snow, no longer then would another 
mortal contend with Ulysses. Iliad iii. 221. 



a generality, of which poetry and prose are forms ? Yes, lan- 
guage is; but are not the rhetorical, the eloquent, and the 
florid styles also ? I answer, that flowery prose is nothing but 
an imitation of poetry. Ornatepoetry was the first to make 
its appearance, and was well received. Afterwards it ^vas 
closely imitated by writers in the time of Cadmus, Phere- 
cydes, and Hecatseus. The mejre was the only thing Dis- 
pensed with, every other poetic grace being carefully preserved. 
As time" advanced, one after another of its b^ajaties was 
discarded, till at last it camejiawn from its glory into our 
commoi^prose. In the same way we may say that conaedy 
took its rise from tragedy, but descended from its loft}? gran- 
deur into what we now call the common parlance of claily ^ e - 
And when [we find] the ancient writers making use of the 
expression " to sing," to designate eloquence of style, this 
in itself is an "eTtctence that poetry is the source and ojigin 
of all ornamented and rhetorical language. Poetry in an- 
cient days was on every occasion accompanied by melody. 
The song or ode was but^a modulated speecji,irom wheffceme 
words rhapsody, tragedy, comecfy, 1 are derived ; and since 
originally eloquence was the term made use of for the poetical 
effusions which were always of the nature of a song, it soon 
happened [that in speaking of poetry] some said, to sing, others, 
to be eloquent ; and as the one term was early misapplied to 
prose compositions, the other also was soon applied in the 
same way. Lastly, the very term ppose, which is applied to 
language not clothed in metre, seems to indicate, as it were, 
its descent from an elevation or chariot to the ground. 2 

7. Homer accurately describes many distant countries, and 
not only Greece and the neighbouring places, as Eratosthenes 
asserts. His romance, too, is in better style than that of his suc- 
cessors. He does not make up wondrous tales on every occasion, 

1 So much of the meaning of this sentence depends upon the orthogra- 
phy, that its force is not fully perceptible in English ; the Greek is as 
follows: TOVTO 8' f)v r} ySrj Aoyoc ^iijjii\i(r}ikvoQ ' at])' ov dij pa^^Siav r' 
tXeyov teal TpayySiav Kai KWfKpdiav. 

2 This last sentence can convey little or no meaning to the English 
reader ; its whole force in the original depending on verbal association. 
Its general scope however will be evident, when it is stated that in 
Greek, the same word, 7rtdc, which means a " foot-soldier," signifies also 
" arose composition." Hence Strabo's allusion to the chariot. The 
Latins borrowed the expression, and used sermo pedestris in the same 


but to instruct us the better often, and especially in the 
sey, adds to the circumstances which have come under his 
actual observation, allegories, wise harangues, and enticing 
narrations. Concerning which, Eratosthenes is much mis- 
taken when he says that both Homer and his commentators 
are a pack of fools. But this subject demands a little more of 
our attention. 

8. To begin. The poets were by no means the first to 
avail themselves of myths. States and lawgivers had taken 
advantage of them long before, having observed the consti- 
tutional bias of mankind. Man is eager after knowledge, and 
the love of legend is but tEeTprelude thereto. This is why 
childfeh begm fo~ listen [to fables], and are acquainted with 
them before any other kind of knowledge ; the cause of this is 
that the myth introduces them to a new train of ideas, relating 
not to every-day occurrences, but something in addition to 

A charm hangs round whatever is new and hitherto un- 
kQOwn,~inspiring us with a desire to become acquainted with 
it, but when the wonderful and the marvellous are likewise 
present, our delight is increased until at last it becomes a 
philtre of study. To children we are obliged to hold out such 
enticements, in order that in riper years, when the mind is 
powerful, and no longer needs such stimulants, it may be 
prepared to enter on the study of actuaLcejalities. 

Every illiteFate and uninstructed man is yet a child, and 
takes delight in fable. With the partially informed it is much 
the same ; reason is not all-powerful wifhiEThim, and he still 
possesses the tastes of a child. But the marvellous, which 
is capable of excitingjjear as well as pleasure, influences not 
childhood only, but age as well. As we relate to children 
pleasing tales to incite them [to any course] of action, and 
frightful ones to deter them, such as those of Lamia, 1 
Ephialtes, 3 and Mormolyca. 4 So numbers of our citize*ns 

1 A female phantom said to devour children, used by nurses as a bug- 
bear to intimidate their refractory^ charges. 

2 In later times there were thrgfi-Horgons, Stheino, Euryale, and Me- 
dusa, but Homer seems to have known but one. 

3 One of the giants, who in the waragainst the_g_ods was deprived of 
his left eye by Apollo, and of the righfby Hercules. 

4 The same^hantom as Mormo, with which the Greeks used to frighten 
little children. 


Jns are \ 



incited to deeds of virtue by the beauties of fable, when they 
hear the poets in a strain of enthusiasm recording noble ac- 
tions, such as the labours of Hercules or Theseus, and the 
honours bestowed on them by tfie gods, or even when they 
see paintings, sculptures, or figures bearing their romantic 
evidence to sucli""events. In the same way they are re- 
strained from vicious courses, when they think they have 
received from the gods by oracles or some other invisible in- 
timations, threats, menaces, or chastisements, or even if they^ 
only believe they have befallen others. The great mass of 
women and common people, cannot be induced by mere force 
of reason to devote themselves to EJetypvIrtue, ancf lionesty ; 
superstition must_ therefore be_employed, and even this is in- 
sufficient without the aid of the marvellous and the terrible. 
For what are the thunderbolts, the asgis, the trident, the 
torches, the dragons, the barbed thyrses, the arms oTtne gods, 
and all the paraphernalia of antique tlieology, but fables em- 
ployed by the founders of states, as bugbears to frighten 
timorous minds. 

Such was mythology ; and when our ancestors found it ca- 
pable oi subserving the purposes of social and political life, 
and even contributing to the knowledge of truth, they conti- 
nued the education of childhood to rnaturer years, and main- 
tained that poetry was sufficient to form the understanding of 
every age. In course of time history and our present philo- 
sophy were introduced; these, however, suffice but for the 
chosen few,, and to the present day poetry is the main agent 
which instructs our people and crowds our theatres. Homer 
here stands pre-eminent, but in truth all the early historians 
and natural philosophers were mythologists as well. 

9. Thus it is that our_poet, though he sometimes employs 
fiction for the purposes of instruction, always gives the pre- 
ferejQce to truth ; he makes use of what is false, merely toler- 
ating it in order the more easily to lead and govern the mul- 
titude. As a man 

"Binds with a golden verge 
Bright silver: " l 

so Hgmer, heightening by fiction actual occurrences, adorns 
and embellishes his subject ; but his end is always the same 
as that of the historian, who relates nothing but facts. In 
1 Odyssey vfm 


this manner he undertook the narration of the Trojan war, 
gilding it with the beauties of fancy and the wanderings of 
Ulysses ; but we shall never find Homer inventing an empty 
fable apart from the inculcation of truth. It is ever the case 
that a person lies most successfully, when he intermingles 
[into the falsehood] a sprinkling of truth. Such is the re- 
mark of Polybius in treating of the wanderings of Ulysses ; 
such is alsoTlTe' meaning of the verse, 

" He fabricated many falsehoods, relating them like truths :" l 

not all, but many falsehoods, otherwise it would not have 
looked like the truth. Homer's narrative is founded on history. 
He tells us that king ^olus governed the Lipari Islands, that 
around Mount JEtna and Leontini dwelt the Cyclopae, and cer- 
tain Loestrygonians inhospitable to strangers. That at that 
time the districts surrounding the strait were unapproachable ; 
and Scylla and Charybdis were infested by banditti. In like 
manner in the writings of Homer we are informed of other 
freebooters, who dwelt in divers regions. Being aware that 
the Cimmerians dwelt on the Cimmerian Bosphorus, a dark 
northern country, he felicitously locates them in a gloomy re- 
gion close by Hades, a fit theatre for the scene in the wander- 
ings of Ulysses. That he was acquainted with these people 
we may satisfy ourselves from the chroniclers, who report an 
incursion made by the Cimmerians either during his life-time 
or just before. 

10. Being acquainted with Colchis, and the voyage of Ja- 
scp to JEa, and also with the historical and fabulous relations 
concerning Circe and Medea, their enchantments and their 
various other points of e *re1Temblance, he feigns there was a 
relationship between them, notwithstanding the vast distance 
by which they were separated, the one dwelling in an inland 
creek of the Euxine, and the other in Italy, and both of them 
beyond the ocean. 

It is possible that Jason -himself wandered as far as Italy, 
for traces of the Argonautic expedition are pointed out 
near the Ceraunian 2 mountains, by the Adriatic, 3 at the Pos- 
sidonian 4 Gulf, and the isles adjacent to Tyrrhenia. 5 The 

1 Odyssey xix. 203. 

2 The mountains of Chimera in Albania. 3 The Gulf of Venice. 
4 The Gulf of Salerno. 5 The Grecian name for Tuscany. 



Cyaneae, called by some the Symplegades, 1 or Jostling Rocks, 
which render the passage through the Strait of Constanti- 
nople so difficult, also afforded matter to our poet. The 
actual existence of a place named -5Sa, stamped credibility 
upon his -ZEsea ; so did the Symplegades upon the Planctae, 
(the Jostling Rocks upon the Wandering Rocks,) aid the 
passage of Jason through the midst of them ; in the same 
way Scylla and Charybdis accredited the passage [of Ulysses] 
past those rocks. In his time people absolutely regarded the 
Euxine as a kind of second ocean, and placed those who had 
crossed it in the same list with navigators who had passed the 
Pillars. 2 It was looked upon as the largest of our seas, 
and was therefore par excellence styled the Sea, in the 
same way as Homer [is called] the Poet. In order there- 
fore to be well received, it is probable he transferred the scenes 
from the Euxine to the ocean, so as not to stagger the general 
belief. And in my opinion those Solymi who possess the 
highest ridges of Taurus, lying between Lycia and Pisidia, 
and those who in their southern heights stand out most con- 
spicuously to the dwellers on this side Taurus, and the inha- 
bitants of the Euxine by a figure of speech, he describes as 
being beyond the ocean. For narrating the voyage of Ulysses 
in his ship, he says, 

" But Neptune, traversing in his return 
From Ethiopia's sons, the mountain heights 
Of Solymfe, descried him from afar." 3 

It is probable he took his account of the one-eyed Cyclopae 
from Scythian history, for the Arimaspi, whom Aristseus 
of Proconnesus describes in his Tales of the Arimaspi, are 
said to be distinguished by this peculiarity. 

1 1 . Having premised thus much, we must now take into 
consideration the reasons of those who assert that Homer 

1 Several small islands, or rather reefs, at the entrance of the Strait of 
Constantinople. They took their name of Symplegades from the varying 
positions they assumed to the eyes of the voyager, owing to the sinuosities 
of the Strait. 

2 Unfortunately for Strabo's illustration, no Grecian navigator had ever 
passed the Strait of Gibraltar in Homer's time. 

3 The powerful Shaker of the Earth, as he was returning from the 
Ethiopians, beheld him from a distance, from the mountains of the So- 
lymi. Odyssey v. 282. 


makes Ulysses wander to Sicily or Italy, and also of those who 
denied this. The truth is, he may be equally interpreted on 
this subject either way, according as we take a correct or in- 
correct view of the case. Correct, if we understand that he 
was convinced of the reality of Ulysses' wanderings there, 
and taking this truth as a foundation, raised thereon a poet- 
ical superstructure. And so far this description of him is 
right ; for not about Italy only, but to the farthest extremities 
of Spain, traces of his wanderings and those of similar adven- 
turers may still be found. Incorrect, if the scene-painting is 
received as fact, his Ocean, and Hades, the oxen of the sun, 
his hospitable reception by the goddesses, the metamorphoses, 
the gigantic size of the Cyclopa? and Lasstrygonians, the mon- 
strous appearance of Scylla, the distance of the voyage, and 
other similar particulars, all alike manifestly fabulous. It is 
as idle to waste words with a person who thus openly maligns 
our poet, as it would be with one who should assert as true 
all the particulars of Ulysses' return to Ithaca, 1 the slaughter 
of the suitors, and the pitched battle between him and the 
Ithacans in the field. But nothing can be said against the 
man who understands the words of the poet in a rational way. 
12. Eratosthenes, though on no sufficient grounds for so 
doing, rejects both these opinions, endeavouring in his attack 
on the latter, to refute by lengthened arguments what is mani- 
festly absurd and unworthy of consideration, and in regard to 
the former, maintaining a poet to be a mere gossip, to whose 
worth an acquaintance with science or geography could not 
add in the least degree : since the scenes of certain of Homer's 
fables are cast in actual localities, as Ilium, 2 Pelion, 3 and Ida; 4 
others in purely imaginary regions, such as those of the Gor- 
gons and Geryon. " Of this latter class," he says, " are the 
places mentioned in the wanderings of Ulysses, and those who 
pretend that they are not mere fabrications of the poet, but 

1 There is some doubt as to the modern name of the island of Ithaca. 
D'Anville supposes it to be the island of Thiaki, between the island of 
Cephalonia and Acarnania, while Wheeler and others, who object to this 
island as being too large to answer the description of Ithaca given by 
Strabo, identify it with the little isle of Ithaco, between Thiaki and the 

2 A name of the city of Troy, from Ilus, son of Tros. 

3 A mountain of Magnesia in Thessaly. 

4 A mountain in the Troad. 

VOL. I. D 


have an actual existence, are proved to be mistaken by the 
differences of opinion existing among themselves : for some of 
them assert that the Sirenes of Homer are situated close to 
Pelorus, 1 and others that they are more than two thousand 
stadia distant, 2 near the Sirenussss, 3 a three-peaked rock 
which separates the Gulfs of Cumasa and Posidonium." 
Now, in the first place, this rock is not three-peaked, nor 
does it form a crest at the summit at all, but a long and nar- 
row angle reaching from the territory of Surrentum 4 to the 
Strait of Capria, 5 having on one side of the mountain the 
temple of the Sirens, and on the other side, next the Gulf 
of Posidonius, three little rocky and uninhabited islands, 
named the Sirenes; upon the strait, is situated the Athe- 
naeum, from which the rocky angle itself takes its name. 

13. Further, if those who describe the geography of certain 
places do not agree in every particular, are we justified in at 
once rejecting their whole narration ? Frequently this is a 
reason why it should receive the greater credit. For exam- 
ple, in the investigation whether the scene of Ulysses' wan- 
derings were Sicily or Italy, and the proper position of the 
Sirenes, they differ in so far that one places them at Pelorus, 
and the other at Sirenussas, but neither of them dissents from 
the idea that it was some where near Sicily or Italy. They 
add thereby strength to this view, inasmuch as though they 
are not agreed as to the exact locality, neither of them makes 
any question but that it was some where contiguous to Italy or 
Sicily. If a third party should add, that the monument of 
Parthenope, who was one of the Sirens, is shown at Naples, 
this only confirms us the more in our belief, for though a 
third place is introduced to our notice, still as Naples is situ- 
ated in the gulf called by Eratosthenes the Cumasan, and 

1 Cape Faro in Sicily. 

2 The stadia here mentioned are 700 to a degree; thus 2000 stadia 
amount to rather more than 57 marine leagues, which is the distance in 
a direct line from Cape Faro to the Capo della Minerva. 

3 The Sirenussoe are the rocks which form the southern cape of the 
Gulf of Naples, and at the same time separate it from the Gulf of Salerno. 
This cape, which was also called the promontory of Minerva, from the 
Athenaeum which stood there, preserves to this day the name of Capo 
della Minerva. 

4 Now Surrento. 

5 The island of Capri is opposite to the Capo della Minerva. 

CHAP. ii. $ 14, 15. INTRODUCTION. 

which is formed by the Sirenussae, we are n 

still that the position of the Sirenes was some w 

That the poet did not search for accuracy it 

detail we admit, but neither ought we to expect , 

at the same time we are not to believe that he composed his 
poem without inquiring into the history of the Wandering, 
nor where and how it occurred. 

14. Eratosthenes "thinks it probable that Hesiod, having 
heard of the wanderings of Ulysses, and of their having taken 
place near to Sicily and Italy, embraced this view of the case, 
and not only describes the places spoken of by Homer, but 
also JEtna, the Isle of Ortygia, 1 near to Syracuse, and Tyr- 
rhenia. As for Homer, he was altogether unacquainted with 
these places, and further, had no wish to lay the scene of the 
wanderings in any well-known locality." What ! are then 
jEtna and Tyrrhenia such well-known places, and Scyllaeum, 
Charybdis, Circseum, 2 and the Sirenussae, so obscure ? Or is 
Hesiod so correct as never to write nonsense, but always fol- 
low in the wake of received opinions, while Homer blurts out 
whatever comes uppermost ? Without taking into consider- 
ation our remarks on the character and aptitude of Homer's 
myths, a large array of writers who bear evidence to his state- 
ments, and the additional testimony of local tradition, are 
sufficient proof that his are not the inventions of poets or con- 
temporary scribblers, but the record of real actors and real 

15. The conjecture of Polybius in regard to the particulars 
of the wandering of Ulysses is excellent. He says that jEplus 
instructed sailors how to navigate the strait, a difficult matter 
on account of the currents occasioned by the ebb and flow, 
and was therefore called the dispenser of the winds, and re- 
puted their king. 

In like manner Danaus for pointing out the springs of 
water that were in Argos, and Ajjreus for showjng the re- 
trograde movement of the sun in tfi*e heavens, from being" 
merer soothsayers and diviners, were raised to the dignity of 
kings. And the priests of the Egyptians, the Chaldeajis, f 
and Magi, distinguished for their wisdom above those around* 
them, ootained from our predecessors honour and authority ; 

1 Now the Island of St. Marcian. 2 Monte Circello, near to Terracina. 

D 2 


and so it is that in each of the gods, we worship the discoverer 
of some useful art. 

Having thus introduced his subject, he does not allow us to 
consider the account of ^Eolus, nor yet the rest of the Odys- 
sey, as altogether mythical. There is a spice of the fabulous 
here, as well as in the Trojan War, 1 but as respects Sicily, 
the poet accords entirely with the other historians who 
have written on the local traditions of Sicily and Italy. He 
altogether denies the justness of Eratosthenes' dictum, "that 
we may hope to discover the whereabout of Ulysses' wander- 
ings, when we can find the cobbler who sewed up the winds 
in the leathern sack." " And [adds Polybius] his description 
of the hunt of the galeotes 2 at Scylla, 

' Plunged to her middle in the horrid den 
She lurks, protruding from the black abyss 
Her heads, with which the ravening monster dives 
In quest of dolphins, dog-fish, or of prey 
More bulky,' 3 

accords well with what takes place around Scyllaeum : for the 
thunny-fish, carried in shoals by Italy, and not being able to 
reach Sicily, fall into [the Strait], where they become the 
prey of larger fish, such as dolphins, dog-fish, and other ceta- 
cea, and it is by this means that the galeotes (which are also 
called sword-fish) and dogs fatten themselves. For the same 
thing occurs here, and at the rising of the Nile and other . 
rivers, as takes place when a forest is on fire. Vast crowds 
of animals, in flying from the fire or the water, become the 
prey of beasts more powerful than themselves." 

16. He then goes on to describe the manner in which they 
catch the sword-fish at Scyllaeum. One look-out directs the 
whole body of fishers, who are in a vast number of small 
boats, each furnished with two oars, and two men to each 
boat. One man rows, the other stands on the prow, spear in 
hand, while the look-out has to signal the appearance of a 
sword-fish. (Thisjish, when swimming, has about a tlu'rd of 
its body above wjiter.) As it passes the boat, the fisjier. darts 
the sgear from his hand, and when this is withdrawn, it leaves 
the shargjxnnt with which it is furnished sticking in the flesh 

1 The Iliad. 2 Sword-fish. 

3 And fishes there, watching about the rock for dolphins and dogs, and 
if she can any where take a larger whale. Odyssey xii. 95. 


of the fish : this point is barbed, and loosely fixed to the spear 
for the purpose ; it has a long'end fastened to it ; this they pay 
out to the wounded fish, till it is exhausted with its struggling 
and endeavours at escape. Afterwards they trail it to the 
shore, or, unless it is too large and full-grown, haul it into 
the boat. If the spear should fall into the sea, it is not lost, 
for it is jointed of oak and pine, so that when the oak sinks 
on account of its weight, it causes the other end to rise, and 
thus is easily recovered. It sometimes happens that the rower 
is wounded, even through the boat, and such is the size of the 
sword with which the galeote is armed, such the strength of 
the fish, and the method of the capture, that [in danger] it is 
not surpassed by the chase of the wild boar. From these facts 
(he says) we may conclude that Ulysses' wanderings were close 
to Sicily, since Homer describes Scylla l as engaging in a pur- 
suit exactly similar to that which is carried on at ScyllaBum. 
As to Charybdis, he describes just what takes place at the 
Strait of Messina : 

" Each day she thrice disgorges," 2 

instead of twice, being only a mistake, either of the scribe or 
the historian. 

17. The customs of the inhabitants of Meninx 3 closely cor- 
respond to the description of the Lotophagi. If any thing 
does not correspond, it should be attributed to change, or to 
misconception, or to poetical licence, which is made up of 
history, rhetoric, and fiction. Truth is the aim of the histo- 
rical portion, as for instance in the Catalogue of jShips, 4 where 
the poet informs us of the peculiarities of each place, that one 
is rocky, another the furthest city, that this abounds in doves, 
and that is maritime. A lively interest is the end of the 
rhetorical, as when he points to us the combat ; and of the 
fiction, pleasure and astonishment. A mere fabrication would 
neither be persuasive nor Homeric ; and we know that his poem 

1 There is a very fine medallion in the Bibliothfeque Nationale de 
France, portraying Scylla as half woman, half dolphin, with a trident 
in her left hand, and seizing a fish with her right. From her middle pro- 
trude two half-bodied dogs, who assist the monster in swimming. 

2 Odyssey xii. 105. 

3 At this place there was an altar consecrated to Ulysses. Meninx is 
now known as the island of Zerbi, on the side of the Bay of Cabus, on 
the coast of Africa. 

4 The second book of the Iliad. 


is generally considered a scientific treatise, notwithstanding 
what Eratosthenes may say, when he bids us not to judge poems 
by the standard of intellect, nor yet look to them for history. 
It is most probable that the line 

" Nine days by cruel storms thence was I borne 
Athwart the fishy deep," 1 

should be understood of merely a short distance, (for cruel 
storms do not blow in a right, course,) and not of being carried 
beyond the ocean, as if impelled by favourable winds. " And," 
says Polybius, "allowing the distance from Malea 2 to the 
Pillars to be 22,500 stadia, and supposing the rate of 
passage was the same throughout the nine days, the voyage 
must have been accomplished at the speed of 2500 stadia per 
diem : now who has ever recorded that the passage from Lycia 
or Rhodes to Alexandria, a distance of 4000 stadia, has been 
made in two days ? To those who demand how it was that 
Ulysses, though he journeyed thrice to Sicily, never once na- 
vigated the Strait, we reply that, long after his time, voyagers 
always sedulously avoided that route." 

18. Such are the sentiments of Polybius; and in many 
respects they are correct enough ; but when he discusses the 
voyage beyond the ocean, and enters on minute calculations 
of the proportion borne by the distance to the number of days, 
he is greatly mistaken. He alleges perpetually the words of 
the poet, 

"Nine days by cruel storms thence was I borne ;" 

but at the same time he takes no notice of this expression, 
which is his as well, 

" And now borne sea-ward from the river stream 
Of the Ocean us;" 3 

and this, 

" In the island of Ogygia, the centre of the sea," 4 

1 And from thence I was carried for nine days over the fishy sea by 
baleful winds. Odyssey ix. 82. 

2 Cape Maleo off the Morea. The distance from this point to Gibraltar 
is now estimated at 28 34'. The 22,500 stadia of Polybius would equal 
32o 8' 34". He was therefore out in his calculation by 3 34' 34". 

3 But when the ship left the stream of the river ocean. Odyss. xii. 1. 

4 Vide Odyssey i. 50. 


and that the daughter of Atlas 1 dwells there. And the follow- 
ing concerning the PliaeaciafTs. 

" Remote amid the billowy deep, we hold 
Our dwelling, utmost of all human kind, 
And free from mixture with a foreign race." 2 

These passages clearly refer to the Atlantic Ocean, 3 but 
though so plainly expressed, Polybius slily manages to overlook 
them. iHere he is altogether wrong, though quite correct 
about tne wandering of Ulysses having taken place round 
Sicily and Italy, a fact which Homer establishes himself. 
Otherwise, what poet or writer could have persuaded the 
Neapolitans to assert that they possessed the tomb of Parthe- 
nope 4 the Siren, or the inhabitants of Cuma3, DicaBarchia, 5 
and Vesuvius [to bear their testimony] to Pyriphlegethoii, the 
Marsh of Acherusia, 6 to the oracle of the dead which was near 
Aornus, 7 and to Baius and Misenus, 8 the companions of Ulys- 
ses. The same is the case with the Sirenussae, and the Strait 
of Messina, and Scylla, and Charybdis, and JEolus, all which 
things should neither be examined into too rigorously, nor 
yet [despised] as groundless and without foundation, alike re- 
mote from truth ancl historic value. 

19. Eratosthenes seems to have had something like this 
view of the case himself, when he says, " Any one would be- 
lieve that the poet intended the western regions as the scene 
of Ulysses' wanderings, but that he has departed from fact, 
sometimes through want of perfect information, at other times 
because he wished to give to scenes a more terrific and mar- 
vellous appearance than they actually possessed." So far 
this is true, but his idea of the object which the poet had in 

1 Calypso. 

2 And we dwell at a distance, the farthest in the sea of many waves, 
nor does any other of mortals mingle with us. Odyssey vi. 204. 

3 Gosselin has satisfactorily demonstrated that Strabo is wrong in sup- 
posing that these passages relate to the Atlantic Ocean, and most of our 
readers will come at once themselves to the same conclusion. Those, 
however, who wish for proofs, may refer to the French translation, vol. i. 
p. 51, n. 

* The ancient name of the city of Naples. 

5 Puteoli, now Pozzuolo, in Campania. 

6 Mare Morto, south of Bai'a, and near to the ruins of Mycene. 

7 Aornus or Avernus : this lake, which lies about one mile north of 
Bai'a, still retains its ancient appellation. 

8 Vide Virgil, ^neid vi. 162. 


view while composing, is false; real advantage, not trifling, 
being his aim. We may justly reprehend his assertion on this 
point, as also where he says, that Homer places the scene of 
his marvels in distant lands that he may lie the more easily. 
Remote localities have not furnished him with near so many 
wonderful narrations as Greece, and the countries thereto ad- 
jacent; witness the labours of Hercules, and Theseus, the 
fables concerning Crete, Sicily, and the other islands ; besides 
those connected with Cithaerum, Helicon, 1 Parnassus, 2 Pelion, 3 
and the whole of Attica and the Peloponnesus. Let us not 
therefore tax the poets with ignorance on account of the myths 
which they employ, and since, so far from myth being the 
staple, they for the most part avail themselves of actual oc- 
currences, (and Homer does this in a remarkable degree,) the 
inquirer who will seek how far these ancient writers have 
wandered into fiction, ought not to scrutinize to what extent 
the fiction was carried, but rather what is the truth concern- 
ing those places and persons to which the fictions have been 
applied ; for instance, whether the wanderings of Ulysses did 
actually occur, and where. 

20. On the whole, however, it is not proper to place the 
works of Homer in the common catalogue of other poets, 
without challenging for him a superiority both in respect of 
his other [excellences] and also for the geography on which 
our attention is now engaged. 

If any one were to do no more than merely read through 
the Triptolemus of Sophocles, or the prologue to the Bacchce 
of Euripides, and then compare them with the care taken by 
Homer in his geographical descriptions, he would at once 
perceive both the difference and superiority of the latter, for 
wherever there is necessity for arrangement in the localities 
he has immortalized, he is careful to preserve it as well in 
regard to Greece, as to foreign countries. 

" They 

On the Olympian summit thought to fix 

Huge Ossa, and on Ossa's towering head 

Pelion with all his forests," 4 

1 Cytheeron and Helicon, two mountains of Boeotia, the latter of which 
is now named Zagaro Voreni. 

2 Parnassus, a mountain of Phocis, near Delphi. 

3 Pelion, a mountain of Magnesia, in Thessaly. 

4 They attempted to place Ossa upon Olympus, and upon Ossa leafy 


" And Juno starting from the Olympian height 
O'erflew Pieria and the lovely plains 
Of broad Emathia ; l soaring thence she swept 
The snow-clad summit of the Thracian hills 2 
Steed-famed, nor printed, as she pass'd, the soil, 

From Athos 3 o'er the foaming billows borne." 4 

In the Catalogue he does noj describe his cities in regular 
order, because here there was no necessity, but both the 
people and foreign countries he arranges correctly. " Having 
wandered to Cyprus, and Phcenice, and the Egyptians, I came 
to the Ethiopians, and Sidonians, and Erembi, and Libya." 5 
Hipparchus has drawn attention to this. But the two tra- 
gedians, where there was great necessity for proper arrange- 
ment, one 6 where he introduces Bacchus visiting the nations, 
the other 7 Triptolemus sowing the earth, have brought in 
juxta-position places far remote, and separated those which 
were near. 

" And having left the wealthy lands of the Lydians and 
Phrygians, and the sunny plains of the Persians and the Bac- 
trian walls, and having come over the stormy land of the 
Medes, and the Happy Arabia." 8 And the Triptolemus is 
just as inaccurate. 

Further, in respect to the winds and climates, Homer shows 
the wide extent of his geographical knowledge, for in his 

Pelion. Odyssey xi. 314. The mountains Pelion, Ossa, and Olympus, 
bounded the eastern coasts of Thcssaly. 

1 Pieria and Emathia, two countries of Macedonia. 

2 The mountains of Macedonia ; this latter name was unknown to Ho- 
mer, who consequently describes as Thracian, the whole of the people 
north of Thessaly. 

3 The Mount Santo of the moderns. 

4 Juno, hastening, quitted the summit of Olympus, and having passed 
over Pieria, and fertile Emathia, she hastened over the snowy mountains 
of equestrian Thrace, most lofty summits. * * * * From Athos she 
descended to the foaming deep. Iliad xiv. 225. 

5 Odyssey iv. 83. 

6 Euripides, Bacchse, towards commencement. 

7 Sophocles. 

8 The inaccuracy of the description consists in this ; that Bacchus 
leaving Lydia and Phrygia should have taken his course by Media into 
Bactriana, and returned by Persia into Arabia Felix. Perhaps too, for 
greater exactness, Strabo would have had the god mention particularly 
the intermediate countries through which he necessarily passed, as Cap- 
padocia, Armenia, Syria, &c. 


topographical descriptions he not unfrequently informs us of 
both these matters. Thus, 

" My abode 
Is sun-burnt Ithaca. 

Flat on the deep she lies, farthest removed 
Toward the west, while situate apart, 
Her sister islands face the rising day." l 


" It has a two-fold entrance, 

One towards the north, the other south." - 

And again, 

" Which I alike despise, speed they their course 
With right-hand flight towards the ruddy east, 
Or leftward down into the shades of eve." 3 

Ignorance of such matters he reckons no less than confusion. 

" Alas ! my friends, for neither west 

Know we, nor east ; where rises or where sets 

The all-enlightening sun."* 

Where the poet has said properly enough, 

" As when two adverse winds, blowing from Thrace, 
Boreas and Zephyrus," 5 

Eratosthenes ill-naturedly misrepresents him as saying in an 
absolute sense, that the west wind blows from Thrace ; where- 
as he is not speaking in an absolute sense at all, but merely of 
the meeting of contrary winds near the bay of Melas, 6 on the 
Thracian sea, itself a part of the ^Egrean. For where Thrace 
forms a kind of promontory, where it borders on Macedonia, 7 

1 But it lies low, the highest in the sea towards the west, but those 
that are separated from it [lie] towards the east and the sun. Odyssey 
ix. 25. 

2 Vide Odyssey xiii. 109, 111. 

3 Which I very little regard, nor do I care for them whether they fly 
to the right, towards the morn and the sun, or to the left, towards the 
darkening west. Iliad xii. 239. 

4 O my friends, since we know not where is the west, nor where the 
morning, nor where the sun. Odyssey x. 190. 

5 The north and west winds, which both blow from Thrace. Iliad 
ix. 5. 

6 Now the Bay of Saros. 

7 These two provinces are comprised in the modern division of Rou- 
melia. A portion of Macedonia still maintains its ancient name Maki- 


it takes a turn to the south-west, and projects into the ocean, 
and from this point it seems to the inhabitants of Thasos, 
Lemnos, Imbros, Samothracia, 1 and the surrounding sea, that 
the west winds blow. 2 So in regard to Attica, they seem to 
come from the rocks of Sciros, 3 and this is the reason why 
all the westerly winds, the north-west more particularly, are 
called the Scirones. Of this Eratosthenes was not aware, 
though he suspected as much, for it was he who described 
this bending of the land [towards the south-west] which we 
have mentioned. But he interprets our poet in an absolute 
sense, and then taxes him with ignorance, because, says he, 
" Zephyr blows from the west, and off Spain, and Thrace does 
not extend so far." Does he then think that Homer was not 
aware that Zephyr came from the west, notwithstanding the 
careful manner in which he distinguishes its position when he 
writes as follows : 

" The east, the south, the heavy-blowing Zephyr, 
And the cold north- wind clear." 4 

Or was he ignorant that Thrace did not extend beyond the 
Pjeonian and Thessalian mountains. 5 To be sure he was well 
acquainted with the position of the countries adjoining Thrace 
in that direction, and does he not mention by name both the 
maritime and inland districts, and tells us of the Magnetae, 6 
the Malians, 7 and other Grecian [territories], all in order, as 
far as Thesprotis; 8 also of the Dolopes 9 bordering on Paeo- 

1 The modern names of these places are Thaso, Stalimene, Imbro, and 

2 Strabo, as well as Casaubon in his notes on this passage, seems to 
have made an imperfect defence of Homer. The difficulty experienced, 
as well by them as Eratosthenes, arose from their overlooking the fact 
that Macedonia was a part of Thrace in Homer's time, and that the 
name of Macedon did not exist. 

3 These rocks were situated between the city of Megara and the isth- 
mus of Corinth. 

4 And the south-east and the south rushed together, and the hard- 
blowing west, and the cold-producing north. Odyssey v. 295. 

5 The western part of Thrace, afterwards named Macedonia ; having 
Pfeonia on the north, and Thessaly on the south. 

6 The Magnetae dwelt near to Mount Pelion and the Pelasgic Gulf, 
now the Bay of Volo. 

7 These people dwelt between Mount Othrys, and the Maliac Gulf, 
now the Gulf of Zeitun. 

8 The maritime portion of Epirus opposite Corfu. 

9 In the time of Homer the Dolopes were the neighbours of the Paeo- 



nia, and the Sellae who inhabit the territory around Dodona 1 
as far as the [river] Achelous, 2 but he never mentions 
Thrace, as being beyond these. He has evidently a predilec- 
tion for the sea which is nearest to him, and with which he is 
most familiar, as where he says, 

" Commotion shook 

The whole assembly, such as heaves the flood 
Of the Icarian deep." 3 

21. Some writers tell us there are but two principal winds, 
the north and south, and that the other winds are only a 
slight difference in the direction of these two. That is, (sup- 
posing only two winds, the north and south,) the south wind 
from the commencement of the summer quarter blows in a 
south-easterly direction ; and from the commencement of the 
winter quarter from the east. The north wind from the de- 
cline of the .summer, blows in a westerly direction, and from 
the decline of the winter, in a north-westerly direction. 

In support of this opinion of the two winds they adduce 
Thrasyalces and our poet himself, forasmuch as he mentions 
the north-west with the south, 

" From the north-west south," 4 
and the west with the north, 

" As when two adverse winds, blowing from Thrace, 
Boreas and Zephyrus." 5 

But Posidonius remarks that none of those who are really 
acquainted with these subjects, such as Aristotle, Timosthenes, 

mans, and dwelt in the north of that part of Thrace which afterwards 
formed Macedonia. Later, however, they descended into Thessaly, and 
established themselves around Pindus. 

1 Dodona was in Epirus, but its exact position is not known. 

2 Now Aspro-potamo, or the White River ; this river flows into the 
sea at the entrance of the Gulf of Corinth. 

3 And the assembly was moved, as the great waves of the Icarian sea. 
Iliad ii. 144. 

4 'Apylcrrcro Noroio, Iliad xi. 306, xxi. 334. ' Apygffrjje strictly speak- 
ing means the north-west, and although, to an English ear, the north-west 
south seems at first absurd, yet in following up the argument which Strabo 
is engaged in, it is impossible to make use of any other terms than those 
which he has brought forward, and merely to have translated dpyserrao 
Noroio by Argest-south, would have mystified the passage without cause. 
We do not here attempt to reconcile the various renderings of dpygorao 
Noroio by Homeric critics, as Strabo's sense alone concerns us. 

5 The north and west winds, which both blow from Thrace. Iliad ix. 5. 

CHAP. ii. $ 22. INTRODUCTION. 45 

and Bion the astronomer, entertain so mistaken an opinion in 
regard to the winds. They say that the north-east (Caecias) 
blows from the commencement of summer, and that the south- 
west wind (Libs), which is exactly opposite to this, blows from 
the decline of winter. And again, the south-east wind (Eurus), 
which is opposite to the north-west wind ( Argestes), from the 
commencement of winter. The east and west winds being 

When our poet makes use of the expression "stormy zephyr," 
he means the wind which is now called by us the north-west ; 
and by the "clear-blowing zephyr" our west wind ; our Leuco- 
notus is his Argestes-notus, or clearing south wind, 1 for this 
wind brings but few clouds, all the other southern winds 
bringing clouds and rain, 2 

" As when whirlwinds of the west 
A storm encounter from the clearing south." 3 

Here he alludes to the stormy zephyr, which very frequently 
scatters the feathery clouds brought up by the Leuconotus, 
or, as it is called by way of epithet, the clearing south. 

The statements made by Eratosthenes in the first book of 
his Geography, require some such correction as this. 

22. Persisting in his false views in relation to Homer, he 
goes on to say, " He was ignorant that the Nile separated into 
many mouths, nay, he was not even acquainted with the name 
of the river, though Hesiod knew it well, for he even 
mentions it." 4 In respect of the name, it is probable that it 

Noroc, the clearing south wind, Horace's Notus Albus ; 
in the improved compass of Aristotle, dpyscrr/jf was the north-west wind, 
the Athenian GKEIOWV. 

2 Tou XoiTroy Norow o\ov Evpoy TTWC OVTOQ. MSS. i. e. all the other 
southern winds having an easterly direction. We have adopted the sug- 
gestion of Kramer, and translated the passage as if it stood thus, TOV Xoi- 
TTOV Norow oAfpow TTWQ OVTOQ. 

3 As when the west wind agitates the light clouds of the clearing 
south, striking them with a dreadful gale. Iliad xi. 305. 

4 Gosselin observes that Hesiod lived about forty years after Homer, and 
he mentions not only the Nile, but also the Po, with which certainly Homer 
was unacquainted. He speaks too of the Western Ocean, where he places 
the Gorgons, and the garden of the Hesperides. It is very likely that these 
various points of information were brought into Greece by the Car- 
thaginians. The name Nile seems to be merely a descriptive title ; it is 
still in use in many countries of India, where it signifies water. The 
river known subsequently as the Nile, was, in Homer's time, called the 


had not then been given to the river, and as to the mouths, if 
they were obscure and little known, will not every one excuse 
him for not being aware whether there were several or merely 
one ? At that time, the river, its rising, and its mouths were 
considered, as they are at the present day, amongst the most 
remarkable, the most wonderful, and most worthy of record- 
ing of all the peculiarities of Egypt : who can suppose that 
those who told our poet of the country and river of Egypt, of 
Egyptian Thebes, and of Pharos, were unaware of the many 
embouchures of the Nile ; or that being aware, they would 
not have described them, were it not that they were too ge- 
nerally known? "But is it not inconceivable that Homer 
should describe Ethiopia, and the Sidonians, the Erembi, and 
the Exterior Sea, 1 should tell us that Ethiopia was divided 
into two parts, and yet nothing about those things which were 
nearer and better known ?" Certainly not, his not describing 
these things is no proof that he was not acquainted with them. 
He does not tell us of his own country, nor yet many other 
things. The most probable reason is, they were so generally 
known that they did not appear to him worth recording. 2 

23. Again, they are entirely wrong when they allege as a 
mark of Homer's ignorance, that he describes the island of 
Pharos 3 as entirely surrounded by the sea. On the contrary, 
it might be taken advantage of as a proof that our poet was 
not unacquainted with a single one of the points concerning 
Egypt which we have just been speaking of: and thus we 

River of Egypt, or the River Egyptus; by the latter of which titles he 
was acquainted with it. See Odyssey xvii. 448. 

1 By this expression is intended the Atlantic. 

2 Gosselin remarks that the arguments made use of by Strabo are not 
sufficiently conclusive. The country with which the Greeks were best 
acquainted was Greece, undoubtedly, and it is this land which Homer 
has described with the greatest exactness of detail. 

3 An island opposite to Alexandria, and seven stadia distant therefrom. 
The Ptolemies united it to the main-land by means of a pier, named 
Hepta-stadium, in allusion to its length. The sands which accumulated 
against the pier became the site of the present city of Alexandria. It 
was not on this island that the celebrated Pharos of Alexandria was 
erected, but on a desolate rock a little to the N. E. It received the same 
name as the island, to which it was joined by another pier. As to the 
passage of Homer, (Odyssey iv. 354 357,) where he says that Pharos is 
one day's sail from the Egyptus, he does not mean Egypt, as Strabo fan- 
cies, but the mouth of the Nile, which river in his time was called the 
Egyptus, and probably fell into the sea about one day's sail from Pharos. 

CHAP. ii. $ 24. INTRODUCTION. 47 

demonstrate it : Every one is prone to romance a little in 
narrating his travels, and Menelaus was no exception to the 
rule. He had been to Ethiopia, 1 and there heard much dis- 
cussion concerning the sources of the Nile, and the alluvium 
which it deposited, both along its course, and also at its 
mouths, and the large additions which it had thereby made to 
the main-land, so as fully to justify the remark of Herodotus 2 
that the whole of Egypt was a gift from the river ; or if not 
the whole, at all events that part of it below the Delta, called 
Lower Egypt. He had heard too that Pharos was entirely 
surrounded by sea, and therefore misrepresented it as entirely 
surrounded by the sea, although it had long ago ceased so to 
be. Now the author of all this was Homer, and we therefore 
infer that he was not ignorant concerning either the sources 
or the mouths of the Nile. 

24. They are again mistaken when they say that he was 
not aware of the isthmus between the sea of Egypt and the 
Arabian Gulf, and that his description is false, 

" The Ethiopians, utmost of mankind, 

These eastward situate, those toward the west." 3 

Nevertheless he is correct, and the criticism of the moderns 
is quite out of place : indeed, there is so little truth in the 
assertion that Homer was ignorant of this isthmus, that I will 
venture to affirm he was not only acquainted with it, but has 
also accurately defined it. But none of the grammarians, not 

1 We have before remarked that the Ethiopia visited by Menelaus 
was not the country above Egypt, generally known by that name, but an 
Ethiopia lying round Jaffa, the ancient Joppa. 

2 " The priests stated also that Menes was the first of mortals that 
ever ruled over Egypt ; to this they added that in the days of that 
king, all Egypt, with the exception of the Thebaic nome, was but a 
morass ; and that none of the lands now seen below Lake Moeris, then 
existed ; from the sea up to this place is a voyage by the river of seven 
days. I myself am perfectly convinced the account of the priests in this 
particular is correct ; for the thing is evident to every one who sees and 
has common sense, although he may not have heard the fact, that the 
Egypt to which the Hellenes navigate, is a land annexed to the Egyp- 
tians, and a gift from the river ; and that even in the parts above the lake 
just mentioned, for three days' sail, concerning which the priests relate 
nothing, the country is just of the same description." Herod, ii. 5. 

3 The Ethiopians, who are divided into two parts, the most distant of 
men, some at the setting of the sun, others at the rising. Odyssey i. 23. 

48 STRABO. BOOK. i. 

even the chiefs of their number, Aristarchus and Crates, have 
understood the words of our poet on this subject. For they 
disagree as to the words which follow this expression of 

" The Ethiopians, utmost of mankind, 

These eastward situate, those towards the west," 1 

Aristarchus writing, 

" These towards the west, and those towards the east," 
and Crates, 

" As well in the west as also in the east." 

However, in regard to their hypotheses, it makes no difference 
whether the passage were written this way or that. One of 
them, in fact, takes what he considers the mathematical 
view of the case, and says that the torrid zone is occupied by 
the ocean, 2 and that on each side of this there is a temperate 
zone, one inhabited by us and another opposite thereto. And 
as we call the Ethiopians, who are situated to the south, and 
dwell along the shores of the ocean, the most distant on the 
face of the inhabited globe ; so he supposed that on the other 
side of the ocean, 3 there were certain Ethiopians dwelling 
along the shores, who would in like manner be considered the 
most distant 4 by the inhabitants of the other temperate zone ; 
and thus that the Ethiopians were double, separated into two 
divisions by the ocean. He adds, " as well in the west as also 
in the east," because as the celestial zodiac always corresponds 
to the terrestrial, and never exceeds in its obliquity the space 
occupied by the two Ethiopias, the sun's entire course must 
necessarily be within this space, and also his rising and setting, 
as it appears to different nations according to the sign which 
he may be in. 

He (Crates) adopted this version, because he considered it 
the more astronomical. But it would have maintained his 
opinion of the division of the Ethiopians into two parts, and 

1 Odyssey i. 23. 

2 Many ancient writers entertained the opinion that the regions sur- 
rounding the terrestrial equator were occupied by the ocean, which formed 
a circular zone, separating our continent from that which they supposed 
to exist in the southern hemisphere. To the inhabitants of this second 
continent they gave the name of Antichthones. 

3 The Southern Ocean. 

4 Or nearest to the equator. 



at the same time have been much more simple, had he said 
that the Ethiopians dwelt on either side of the ocean from the 
rising to the setting of the sun. In this case what difference 
does it make whether we follow his version, or adopt the 
reading of Aristarchus, 

" These towards the west, and those towards the east ? " 

which also means, that whether east or west, on either side 
of the ocean, Ethiopians dwell. But Aristarchus rejects this 
hypothesis. He says, " The Ethiopians with whom we are 
acquainted, and who are farthest south from the Greeks, 
are those described by the poet as being separated into two 
divisions. But Ethiopia is not so separated as to form two 
countries, one situated towards the west, the other towards 
the east, but only one, that which lies south of the Greeks 
and adjoins Egypt ; but of this the poet was ignorant, as well 
as of other matters enumerated by Apollodorus, which he has 
falsely stated concerning various places in his second book, 
containing the catalogue of the ships." 

25. To refute Crates would require a lengthened argu- 
ment, which here perhaps may be considered out of place. 
Aristarchus we commend for rejecting the hypothesis of 
Crates, which is open to many objections, and for referring 
the expression of the poet to our Ethiopia. But the remain- 
der of his statement we must discuss. First, his minute ex- 
amination of the reading is altogether fruitless, for whichever 
way it may have been written, his interpretation is equally 
applicable to both ; for what difference is there whether you 
say thus In our opinion there are two Ethiopian, one to- 
wards the east, the other to the west; or thus For they 
are as well towards the east as the west ? Secondly, He 
makes false assumptions. For admitting that the poet was 
ignorant of the isthmus, 1 and that he alludes to the Ethiopia 
contiguous to Egypt, when he says, 

The Ethiopians separated into two divisions ; 2 

what then ? Are they not separated into two divisions, and 
could the poet have thus expressed himself if he had been in 
ignorance ? Is not Egypt, nay, are not the Egyptians, sepa- 

1 The isthmus of Suez. 2 Odyssey i. 23. 

VOL. i. E 


rated into two divisions by the Nile from the Delta to Syene, 1 
These towards the west, those towards the east ? 

And what else is Egypt, with the exception of the island 
formed by the river and overflowed by its waters ; does it not 
lie on either side of the river both east and west ? 

Ethiopia runs in the same direction as Egypt, and resem- 
bles it both in its position with respect to the Nile, and 
in its other geographical circumstances. It is narrow, long, 
and subject to inundation ; beyond the reach of this inunda- 
tion it is desolate and parched, and unfitted for the habitation 
of man ; some districts lying to the east and some to the west 
of [the river]. How then can we deny that it is separated into 
two divisions ? Shall the Nile, which is looked upon by some 
people as the proper boundary line between Asia and Libya, 2 
and which extends southward in length more than 10,000 stadia, 
embracing in its breadth islands which contain populations of 
above ten thousand men, the largest of these being Meroe, the 
seat of empire and metropolis of the Ethiopians, be regarded 
as too insignificant to divide Ethiopia into two parts ? The 
greatest obstacle which they who object to the river being 
made the line of demarcation between the two continents are 
able to allege, is, that Egypt and Ethiopia are by this means 
divided, one part of each being assigned to Libya, and the 
other to Asia, or, if this will not suit, the continents cannot 
be divided at all, or at least not by the river. 

26. But besides these there is another method of dividing 
Ethiopia. All those who have 'sailed along the coasts of 
Libya, whether starting from the Arabian Gulf, 3 or the 
Pillars, 4 after proceeding a certain distance, have been 
obliged to turn back again on account of a variety of 
accidents ; and thus originated a general belief that it was 
divided midway by some isthmus, although the whole of 

1 This explanation falls to the ground when we remember, that prior to 
the reign of Psammeticus no stranger had ever succeeded in penetrating 
into the interior of Egypt. This was the statement of the Greeks them- 
selves. Now as Psammeticus did riot flourish till two and a half centu- 
ries after Homer, that poet could not possibly have been aware of the 
circumstances which Strabo brings forward to justify his interpretation 
of this passage which he has undertaken to defend. 

2 Africa. 3 The Red Sea. 
4 The Strait of Gibraltar. 


the Atlantic Ocean is confluent, more especially towards 
the south. Besides, all of these navigators called the final 
country which they reached, Ethiopia, and described it 
under that name. Is it therefore at all incredible, that 
Homer, misled by such reports, separated them into two 
divisions, one towards the east and the other west, not 
knowing whether there were any intermediate countries 
or not? But there is another ancient tradition related by 
Ephorus, which Homer had probably fallen in with. He 
tells us it is reported by the Tartessians, 1 that some of the 
Ethiopians, on their arrival in Libya, 2 penetrated into the 
extreme west, and settled down there, while the rest occupied 
the greater part of the sea-coast ; and in support of this state- 
ment he quotes the passage of Homer, 

The Ethiopians, the farthest removed of men, separated into two 

27. These and other more stringent arguments may be 
urged against Aristarchus and those of his school, to clear 
our poet from the charge of such gross ignorance. I assert 
that the ancient Greeks, in the same way as they classed all 
the northern nations" with which they were familiar under the 
one name of Scythians, or, according to Homer, INomades, and 

1 The Tartessians were the inhabitants of the island of Tartessus, formed 
by the two arms of the Baetis, (the present Guadalquiver,) near the mouth 
of this river. One of these arms being now dried up, the island is re- 
united to the mainland. It forms part of the present district of Andalusia. 
The tradition, says Gosselin, reported by Ephorus, seems to me to resem- 
ble that still preserved at Tingis, a city of Mauritania, so late as the sixth 
century. Procopius (Vandalicor. ii. 10) relates that there were two 
columns at Tingis bearing the following inscription in the Phoenician 
language, " We are they who fled before the brigand Joshua, the son of 
Naue (Nun)." It does not concern us to inquire whether these columns 
actually existed in the time of Procopius, but merely to remark two in- 
dependent facts. The first is the tradition generally received for more 
than twenty centuries, that the coming of the Israelites into Palestine 
drove one body of Canaanites, its ancient inhabitants, to the extremities 
of the Mediterranean, while another party went to establish, among the 
savage tribes of the Peloponnesus and Attica, the earliest kingdoms known 
in Europe. The second observation has reference to the name of Ethio- 
pians given by Ephorus to this fugitive people, as confirming what we 
have before stated, that the environs of Jaffa, and possibly the entire of 
Palestine, anciently bore the name of Ethiopia : and it is here we must 
seek for the Ethiopians of Homer, and not in the interior of Africa. 

3 Africa. 

E 2 


afterwards becoming acquainted with those towards the west, 
styled them Islts and Iberians ; sometimes compounding the 
names into Keltiberians, or Keltoscythians, thus ignorantly 
uniting various distinct nations ; so I affirm they designated 
as Ethiopia the whole of the southern countries towards the 
ocean. Of this there is evidence, for ^Eschylus, in the Pro- 
metheus Loosed, 1 thus speaks: 

There [is] the sacred wave, and the coralled bed of the Erythraean 
Sea, and [there] the luxuriant marsh of the Ethiopians, situated near 
the ocean, glitters like polished brass ; where dafly"m the soft and tepid 
stream, the all-seeing sun bathes his undying self, and refreshes his weary 

And as the ocean holds the same position in respect to the 
sun, and serves the same purpose throughout the whole south- 
ern region, 2 he 3 therefore concludes that the Ethiopians inha- 
bited the whole of the region. 

And Euripides in his Phaeton 4 says that Clymene was 

" To Merops, sovereign of that land 
Which from his four-horsed chariot first 
The rising sun strikes with his golden rays ; 
And which its swarthy neighbours call 
The radiant stable of the Morn and Sun." 

Here the poet merely describes them as the common stables 
of the Morning and of the Sun ; but further on he tells us 
they were near to the dwellings of Merops, and in fact the 
whole plot of the piece has reference to this. This does not 
therefore refer alone to the [land] next to Egypt, but rather 
to the whole southern country extending along the sea-coast. 
28. Ephorus likewise shows us the opinion of the ancients 
respecting Ethiopia, in his Treatise on Europe. He says, " If 
the whole celestial and terrestrial globe were divided into 
four parts, the Indians would possess that towards the east, 
theHEthiopians towards the south, the Kelts towards the 
west, and the Scythians towards" the north." He adds that 
Ethiopia is largerTEan Scythia ; for, says"he, it appears that 
the country of the Ethiopians extends from the rising to the 
setting of the sun in winter ; and Scythia is opposite to it. 

1 This piece is now lost. 2 TO /u<7jju/3piv6v i 

3 ^Eschylus. 4 This piece is now lost. 


It is evident this was the opinion of Homer, since he places 

Towards the gloomy region, 1 

that is, towards the north, 2 but the others apart, 
Towards the morning and the sun, 

by which he means the whole southern hemisphere : and again 

when he says, 

" speed they their course 
With right-hand flight towards the ruddy east, 
Or leftward down into the shades of eve." 3 

Ami again, 

" Alas ! my friends, for neither west 

Know we, nor east, where rises or where sets 

The all-enlightening sun." 4 

Which we shall explain more fully when we come to speak 
of Ithaca. 5 

When therefore he says, 

" For to the banks of the Oceanus, 
Where Ethiopia holds a feast to Jove, 
Hejourney'd yesterday," 6 

we should take this in a general sense, and understand by it 
the whole of the ocean which washes Ethiopia and the south- 
ern region, for to whatever part of this region you direct 
your attention, you will there find both the ocean and Ethi- 
opia. It is in a similar style he says, 

" But Neptune, traversing in his return 
From Ethiopia's sons the mountain heights 
Of Solyme, descried him from afar." 7 

1 Odyssey ix. 26. 

2 Strabo is mistaken in interpreting TrpoQ Z,6<f>ov towards the north. 
It means here, as every where else, " towards the west," and allusion in 
the passage is made to Ithaca as lying west of Greece. 

3 Whether they fly to the right towards the morn and the sun, or to 
the left towards the darkening west. Iliad xii. 239. 

4 O my friends ! since we know not where is the west, nor where the 
morning, nor where the sun that gives light to mortals descends beneath 
the earth, nor where he rises up again. Odyssey x. 190. 

5 In Book x. 

6 For yesterday Jove went to Oceanus to the blameless Ethiopians, to 
a banquet. Iliad i. 423. 

7 The powerful shaker of the earth, as he was returning from the 
Ethiopians, beheld him from a distance, from the mountains of the Solymi. 
Odyssey v. 282. 


which is equal to saying, " in his return from the southern 
regions," l meaning by the Solymi, as I remarked before, not 
those of Pisidia, but certain others merely imaginary, having 
the same name, and bearing the like relation to the naviga- 
tors in [Ulysses'] ship, and the southern inhabitants there 
called Ethiopians, as those of Pisidia do in regard to Pontus 
and the inhabitants of Egyptian Ethiopia. What he says 
about the cranes must likewise be understood in a general 

" Such clang is heard 

Along the skies, when from incessant showers 
Escaping, and i'rom winter's cold, the cranes 
Take wing, and over ocean speed away. 
Woe to the land of dwarfs ! prepared they fly 
For slaughter of the small Pygmaean race." l 

For it is not in Greece alone that the crane is observed to 
emigrate to more southern regions, but likewise from Italy 
and Iberia, 3 from [the shores of] the Caspian, and from Bac- 
triana. But since the ocean extends along the whole south- 
ern coast, and the cranes fly to all parts of it indiscriminately 
at the approach of winter, we must likewise believe that the 
Pygmies 4 were equally considered to inhabit the whole of it. 

1 This would be true if Homer had lived two or three centuries later, 
when the Greeks became acquainted with the Ethiopians on the eastern 
and western coasts of Africa. But as the poet was only familiar with 
the Mediterranean, there is no question that the Ethiopians mentioned in 
this passage are those of Phoenicia and Palestine. 

2 Which, after they have escaped the winter and immeasurable shower, 
with a clamour wing their way towards the streams of the ocean, bearing 
slaughter and fate to the Pygmaean men. Iliad iii. 3. 

3 Gosselin is of opinion that this Iberia has no reference to Spain, but 
is a country situated between the Euxine and Caspian Seas, and forms 
part of the present Georgia. He assigns as his reason, that if Strabo had 
meant to refer to Spain, he would have mentioned it before Italy, so as 
not to interrupt the geographical order, which he is always careful to 

4 Pygmy, (Trwyjuatoc,) a being \vhose length is a Trvyju./}, that is, from the 
elbow to the hand. The Pygmaei were a fabulous nation of dwarfs, the 
Lilliputians of antiquity, who, according to Homer, had every spring to 
sustain a war against the cranes on the banks of Oceanus. They were 
believed to have been descended from Pygmasus, a son of Dorus and 
grandson of Epaphus. Later writers usually place them near the sources 
of the Nile, whither the cranes are said to have migrated every year 
to take possession of the field of the Pygmies. The reports of them have 
been embellished in a variety of ways by the ancients. Hecatajus, for 

CHAP. ii. $ 28. INTRODUCTION. oo 

And if the moderns have confined the term of Ethiopians 
to those only who dwell near to Egypt, and have also re- 
stricted the Pygmies in like manner, this must not be 
allowed to interfere with the meaning of the ancients. "VVe 
do not speak of all the people who fought against Troy as 
merely Acha^ans and Argives, though Homer describes the 
whole under those two names. Similar to this is my remark 
concerning the separation of the Ethiopians into two divi- 
sions, that under thaFrlesignation we snould understand the 
whole of the nations inhabiting the sea-board from east to 
west. The Ethiopians taken in this sense are naturally se- 
parated into two parts by the Arabian Gulf, which occupies 
a considerable portion of a meridian circle, 1 and resembles a 
river, being in length nearly 15,000 stadia, 2 and in breadth not 
above 1000 at the widest point. In addition to the length, 
the recess of the Gulf is distant from the sea at Pelusium only 
three or four days' journey across the isthmus. On this ac- 
count those who are most felicitous in their division of Asia 
and Africa, prefer the Gulf 3 as a better boundary line for the 

example, related that they cut down every corn -ear with an axe, for they 
were conceived to be an agricultural people. When Hercules came into 
their country, they climbed with ladders to the edge of his goblet to 
drink from it ; and when they attacked the hero, a whole army of them 
made an assault upon his left hand, while two made the attack on his 
right. Aristotle did not believe that the accounts of the Pygmies were 
altogether fabulous, but thought that they were a tribe in Upper Egypt, 
who had exceedingly small horses, and lived in caves. In later times we 
also hear of Northern Pygmies, who lived in the neighbourhood of Thule : 
they are described as very short-lived, small, and armed with spears like 
needles. Lastly, we also have mention of Indian Pygmies, who lived 
under the earth on the east of the river Ganges. Smith, Diet. Biog. and 
Mythol. Various attempts have been made to account for this singular 
belief, which however seems to have its only origin in the love of the 

1 It must be observed that the Arabian Gulf, or Red Sea, does not run 
parallel to the equator, consequently it could not form any considerable 
part of a meridian circle ; thus Strabo is wrong even as to the physical po- 
sition of the Gulf, but this is not much to be wondered at, as he supposed 
an equatorial division of the earth into two hemispheres by the ocean. 

2 15,000 of the stadia employed by Strabo were equivalent to 21 25' 
43". The distance from the Isthmus of Suez to the Strait of Bab-el- 
Mandeb, following our better charts, is 20 15'. Strabo says nearly 15,000 
stadia ; and this length may be considered just equal to that of the Arabian 
Gulf. Its breadth, so fur as we know, is in some places equal to 1800 

3 The Arabian Gulf, or Red Sea. 



two continents than the Nile, since it extends almost entirely 
from sea to sea, whereas the Nile is so remote from the ocean 
that it does not by any means divide the whole of Asia from 
Africa. On this account I believe it was the Gulf which the 
poet looked upon as dividing into two portions the whole 
southern regions of the inhabited earth. Is it possible, then, 
that he was unacquainted with the isthmus which separates 
this Gulf from the Egyptian Sea ? 1 

29. It is quite irrational to suppose that he could be accu- 
rately acquainted with Egyptian Thebes, 2 which is separated 
from our sea 3 by a little less than 5000 4 stadia ; and yet ig^ 
norant of the recess of the Arabian Gulf, and of the isthmus 
there, whose breadth is not more than 1000 stadia. Still 
more, would it not be ridiculous to believe that Homer was 
aware the Nile was called by the same name as the vast country 
[of Egypt], and yet unacquainted with the reason why? 
especially since the saying of Herodotus would occur to him, 
that the country was a gift from the river, and it ought there- 

1 The Mediterranean. 

2 Aristotle accounts for Homer's mentioning Thebes rather than Mem- 
phis, by saying that, at the time of the poet, the formation of that part of 
Egypt by alluvial deposit was very recent. So that Memphis either did 
not then exist, or at all events had not then obtained its after celebrity. 
Aristotle likewise seems to say that anciently Egypt consisted only of the 
territory of the Thebaid, mi TO apxalov 17 AiyvTrroc, 0i?/3ai KaXovpsvai. 

3 The Mediterranean. 

4 Gosselin says, " Read 4000, as in lib. xvii. This correction is indi- 
cated by the following measure given by Herodotus ; 

From the sea to Heliopolis 1500 stadia 

From Heliopolis to Thebes . . . . 4860 


The stadium made use of in Egypt at the time of Herodotus consisted of 
lllli to a degree on the grand circle, as may be seen by comparing the 
measure of the coasts of the Delta furnished by that historian with our 
actual information. The length of this stadium may likewise be ascer- 
tained by reference to Aristotle. In the time of Eratosthenes and Strabo, 
the stadium of 700 to a degree was employed in Egypt. Now 6360 sta- 
dia of 1111^ to a degree make just 4006 stadia of 700: consequently 
these two measures are identical, their apparent inconsistency merely re- 
sulting from the different scales by which preceding authors had expressed 
them." This reasoning seems very plausible, but we must remark that 
Col. Leake, in a valuable paper " On the Stade as a Linear Measure," 
published in vol. ix. of the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, is 
of opinion that Gosselin's system of stadia of different lengths cannot be 


fore to bear its name. Further, the best known pec 
of a country are those which have something of the 
a paradox, and are likely to arrest general attention, ui tnis 
kind are the rising of the Kile, and the alluvial depo- 
sition at its mouth. There is nothing in the whole country to 
which travellers in Egypt so immediately direct their inquiries, 
as the character of the Nile ; nor do the inhabitants possess 
any thing else equally wonderful and curious, of which to in- 
form foreigners ; for in fact, to give them a description of the 
river, is to lay open to their view every main characteristic of 
the country. It is the question put before every other by 
those who have never seen Egypt themselves. To these con- 
siderations we must add Homer's thirst after knowledge, and 
his delight in visiting foreign lands, (tastes which we are as- 
sured both by those who have written histories of his life, and 
also by innumerable testimonies throughout his own poems, 
he possessed in an eminent degree,) and we shall have abund- 
ant evidence both of the extent of his information, and the 
felicity with which he described objects he deemed important, 
and passed over altogether, or with slight allusion, matters 
which were generally known. 

30. These Egyptians and Syrians 1 whom we have been 
criticising fill one with amazement. They do not understand 
[Homer], even ^when he is describing their own, countries, 
but accuse himof ignorance where, as our argument proves, 
they are open to the charge themselves. Not to mention a 
thing is clearly no evidence that a person is not acquainted 
with it. 2 Homer does not tell us of the change in the cur- 
rent of the Euripus, nor of Thermopylae, nor of many other re- 
markable things well known to the Greeks ; but was he there- 
fore unacquainted with them ? He describes to us, although 
these men, who are obstinately deaf, will not hear : they have 
themselves to blame. 

Our poet applies to rivers the epithet of " heaven-sent." 
And this not only to mountain torrents, but to all rivers alike, 
since they are all replenished by the showers. But even what 

1 Namely Crates and Aristarchus. The last was of Alexandria, and 
consequently an Egyptian^ Crates was of Cilicia, which was regarded 
as a part of Syria. *^~ ^ 

2 This is a very favourite axiom with Strabo, notwithstanding he too 
often forgets it himself. 


is general becomes particular when it is bestowed on any 
object par excellence. Heaven-sent, when applied to a moun- 
tain torrent, means something else than when it is the epithet 
of the ever-flowing river ; but the force of the term is doubly 
felt when attributed to the Nile. For as there are hyperboles 
of hyperboles, for instance, to be " lighter than the shadow of 
a cork," " more timid than a Phrygian hare," 1 " to possess an 
estate shorter than a Lacedaemonian epistle ; " so excellence 
becomes more excellent, when the title of " heaven-sent " is 
given to the Nile. The mountain torrent has a better claim 
to be called heaven-sent than other rivers, but the Nile ex- 
ceeds the mountain torrents, both in its size and the lengthened 
period of its overflow. Since, then, the wonders of this river 
were known to our poet, as we have shown in this defence, 
when he applies this epithet to the Nile, it must only be un- 
derstood in the way we have explained. Homer did not 
think it worth mentioning, especially to those who were ac- 
quainted with the fact, that the Nile had many mouths, since 
this is a common feature of numerous other rivers. Alcasus 2 
does not mention it, although he tells us he had been in 
Egypt. One might infer the fact of its alluvial deposit, both 
from the rising [of the river] and what Homer tells us con- 
cerning Pharos. For his account, or rather the vulgar report 

1 The Phrygians were considered to be more timid than any other 
people, and consequently the hares of their country more timid than those 
of any other. We see then a twofold hyperbole in the expression that 
a man is more timid than a Phrygian hare. 

2 Alceeus of Mitylene in the island of Lesbos, the earliest of the JEo- 
lian lyric poets, began to flourish in the forty-second Olympiad (B. c. 
610). In the second year of this Olympiad we find Cicis and Antime- 
nidas, the brothers of Alcams, fighting under Pittacus against Melan- 
chrus, who is described as the tyrant of Lesbos, and who fell in the conflict 
Alcaeus does not appear to have taken part with his brothers on this occa- 
sion ; on the contrary, he speaks of Melanchrus in terms of high praise. 
Alcseus is mentioned in connexion with the war in Troas, between the 
Athenians and Mitylenaeans, for the possession of Sigaeum. During the 
period which followed this war, the contest between the nobles and the 
people of Mitylene was brought to a crisis. The party of Alcaeus en- 
gaged actively on the side of the nobles, and was defeated. When he and 
his brother Antimenidas perceived that all hope of their restoration to 
Mitylene was gone, they travelled over different countries. Alcaeus visited 
Egypt, and appears to have written poems in which his adventures by 
sea were described. Horace, Carm. ii. 13. 26. See Smith's Diet, of 
Biog. and Mythol. 

CHAP. ii. $ 31. INTRODUCTION. 59 

concerning Pharos, that it was distant from the mainland a 
whole day's voyage, ought not to be looked upon as a down- 
right falsehood. 

It is clear that Homer was only acquainted with the rising 
and deposit of the river in a general way, and concluding 
from what he heard that the island had been further removed 
in the time of Menelaus from the mainland, than it was in 
his own, he magnified the distance, simply that he might 
heighten the fiction. Fictions however are not the offspring 
of ignorance, as is sufficiently plain from those concerning 
Proteus, the Pygmies, the efficacy of charms, and many others 
similar to these fabricated by the poets. They narrate these 
things not through ignorance of the localities, but for the sake 
of giving pleasure and enjoyment. But [some one may in- 
quire], how could he describe [Pharos], which is without 
water as possessed of that necessary ? 

" The haven there is good, and many a ship 
Finds watering there from rivulets on the coast." l 

[I answer,] It is not impossible that the sources of water may 
since have failed. Besides, he does not say that the water 
was procured from the island, but that they went thither on 
account of the safety of the harbour ; the water was probably 
obtained from the mainland, and by the expression the poet 
seems to admit that what he had before said of its being 
wholly surrounded by sea was not the actual fact, but a hy- 
perbole or fiction. 

31. As his description of the wanderings of Menelaus may 
seem to authenticate the charge of ignorance made against 
him in respect to those regions, it will perhaps be best to 
point out the difficulties of the narrative, and their explana- 
tion, and at the same time enter into a fuller defence of our 
poet. Menelaus thus addresses Telemachus, who is admiring 
the splendour of his palace : 

" After numerous toils 

And perilous wanderings o'er the stormy deep, 
In the eighth year at last I brought them home. 
Cyprus, Phrenioia, Sidon, and the shores 
Of Egypt, roaming without hope, I reach'd, 

1 But in it there is a haven with good mooring, from whence they take 
equal ships into the sea, having drawn black water. Odyssey iv. 358. 


In distant Ethiopia thence arrived, 
And Libya." l 

It is asked, What Ethiopians cou'd he have met with on 
his voyage from Egypt ? None are to be found dwelling by our 
sea, 2 and with his vessels 3 he could never have reached the 
cataracts of the Nile. Next, who are the Sidonians ? Cer- 
tainly not the inhabitants of Phoenicia ; for having mentioned 
the genus, he would assuredly not particularize the species. 4 
And then the Erembi ; this is altogether a new name. Our 
contemporary Aristonicus, the grammarian, in his [observ- 
ations] on the wanderings of Menelaus, has recorded the 
opinions of numerous writers on each of the heads under 
discussion. It will be sufficient for us to refer to them 
very briefly. They who assert that Menelaus went by sea to 
Ethiopia, tell us he directed his course past Cadiz into the 
Indian Ocean ; 5 with which, say they, the long duration of his 
wanderings agrees, since he did not arrive there till the eighth 
year. Others, that he passed through the isthmus 6 which 
enters the Arabian Gulf; and others again, through one of 
the canals. At the same time the idea of this circumnaviga- 
tion, which owes its origin to Crates, is not necessary ; we do 
not mean it was impossible, (for the wanderings of Ulysses are 

1 Certainly having suffered many things, and having wandered much, 
I was brought in my ships, and I returned in the eighth year ; having 
wandered to Cyprus, and Phoenice, and the Egyptians, I came to the 
Ethiopians and Sidonians, and Erembians, and Libya. Odyssey iv. 81. 

2 On the coasts of the Mediterranean. 

3 Strabo intends to say that the ships of Menelaus were not constructed 
so as to be capable of being taken to pieces, and carried on the backs of 
the sailors, as those of the Ethiopians were. 

4 Having mentioned the Phoenicians, amongst whom the Sidonians are 
comprised, he certainly would not have enumerated these latter as a 
separate people. 

5 That is to say, that he made the entire circuit of Africa, starting 
from Cadiz, and doubling the Cape of Good Hope. Such was the opinion 
of Crates, who endeavoured to explain all the expressions of Homer after 
mathematical hypotheses. If any one were to inquire how Menelaus, who 
was wandering about the Mediterranean, could have come into Ethiopia, 
Crates would answer, that Menelaus left the Mediterranean and entered 
the Atlantic, whence he could easily travel by sea into Ethiopia. In 
this he merely followed the hypothesis of the mathematicians, who said 
that the inhabited earth in all its southern portion was traversed by the 
Atlantic Ocean, and the other seas contiguous thereto. 

6 The Isthmus of Suez. This isthmus they supposed to be covered 
by the sea, as Strabo explains further on. 


not impossible,) but neither the mathematical hypothesis, nor 
yet the duration of the wandering, require such an explan- 
ation ; for he was both retarded against his will by accidents 
in the voyage, as by [the tempest] which he narrates five 
only of his sixty ships survived ; and also by voluntary delays 
for the sake of amassing wealth. Nestor says [of him], 

" Thus he, provision gathering as he went, 
And gold abundant, roam'd to distant lands." l 

[And Menelaus himself], 

" Cyprus, Phoenicia, and the Egyptians' land 
I wandered through." 2 

As to the navigation of the isthmus, or one of the canals, 
if it had been related by Homer himself, we should have 
counted it a myth ; but as he does not relate it, we regard 
it as entirely extravagant and unworthy of belief. We 
say unworthy of belief, because at the time of the Trojan war 
no canal was in existence. It is recorded that Sesostris, who 
had planned the formation of one, apprehending that the level 
of the sea was too high to admit of it, desisted from the un- 
dertaking. 3 

Moreover the isthmus itself was not passable for ships, and 
Eratosthenes is unfortunate in his conjecture, for he con- 
siders that the strait at the Pillars was not .then formed, 

1 Thus far he, collecting much property and gold, wandered with his 
ships. Odyssey iii. 301. 

2 Odyssey iv. 83. 

3 Strabo here appears to have followed Aristotle, who attributes to Se- 
sostris the construction of the first canal connecting the Mediterranean, 
or rather the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, with the Red Sea. Pliny has 
followed the same tradition. Strabo, Book xvii., informs us, that 
other authors attribute the canal to Necho the son of Psammeticus ; and 
this is the opinion of Herodotus and Diodorus. It is possible these au- 
thors may be speaking of two different attempts to cut this canal. Sesos- 
tris nourished about 1356 years before Christ, Necho 615 years before the 
same era. About a century after Necho, Darius the son of Hystaspes 
made the undertaking, but desisted under the false impression that the 
level of the Red Sea was higher than that of the Mediterranean. Ptolemy 
Philadelphus proved this to be an error, by uniting the Red Sea to the 
Nile without causing any inundation. At the time of Trajan and Hadrian 
the communication was still in existence, though subsequently it became 
choked up by an accumulation of sand. It will be remembered that a 
recent proposition for opening the canal was opposed in Egypt oil similar 



so that the Atlantic should by that channel communicate 
with the Mediterranean, and that this sea being higher 
than the Isthmus [of Suez], covered it ; but when the Strait 
[of Gibraltar] was formed, the sea subsided considerably ; and 
left the land about Casium 1 and Pelusium 2 dry as far over 
as the Red Sea. 

But what account have we of the formation of this strait, 
supposing it were not in existence prior to the Trojan war ? 
Is it likely that our poet would make Ulysses sail out through 
the Strait [of Gibraltar] into the Atlantic Ocean, as if that 
strait already existed, and at the same time describe Mene- 
laus conducting his ships from Egypt to the Red Sea, as if it 
did not exist. Further, the poet introduces Proteus as say- 
ing to him, 

" Thee the gods 

Have destined to the blest Elysian Isles, 
Earth's utmost boundaries." 3 

And what this place was, namely, some far western region, 
is evident from [the mention of] the Zephyr in connexion 
with it : 

" But Zephyr always gently from the sea 
Breathes on them." 4 

This, however, is very enigmatical. 

32. But if our poet speaks of the Isthmus of Suez as ever 
having been the strait of confluence between the Mediterra- 
nean and the Red Seas, how much more credit may we attri- 
bute to his division of the Ethiopians into two portions, being 
thus separated by so grand a strait ! And what commerce 
could he have carried on with the Ethiopians who dwelt by 
the shores of the exterior sea and the ocean ? Telemachus 
and his companions admire the multitude of ornaments that 
were in the palace, 

"Of gold, electrum, silver, ivory." 5 

Now the Ethiopians are possessed of none of these produc- 
tions in any abundance, excepting ivory, being for the most 

1 Mount El Kas. 2 Tineh. 

3 But the immortals will send you to the Elysian plain, and the bound- 
aries of the earth. Odyssey iv. 563. 

4 But ever does the ocean send forth the gently blowing breezes of the 
west wind. Odyssey iv. 567. 

5 Odyssey iv. 7,3. See Strabo's description of electrum, Book iii, c. 
ii. 8. 


part a needy and nomad race. True, [you say,] but adjoin- 
ing them is Arabia, and the whole country as far as India. 
One of these is distinguished above all other lands by the 
title of Felix, 1 and the other, though not dignified by that 
name, is both generally believed and also said to be pre- 
eminently Blessed. 

But [we reply], Homer was not acquainted with India, or 
he would have described it. And though he knew of the 
Arabia which is now named Felix, at that time it was by no 
means wealthy, but a wild country, the inhabitants of which 
dwelt for the most part in tents. It is only a small district 
which produces the aromatics from which the whole territory 
afterwards received its name, 2 owing to the rarity of the com- 
modity amongst us, and the value set upon it. That the 
Arabians are now flourishing and wealthy is due to their vast 
and extended traffic, but formerly it does not appear to have 
been considerable. A merchant or camel-driver might attain 
to opulence by the sale of these aromatics and similar com- 
modities ; but Menelaus could only become so either by plun- 
der, or presents conferred on him by kings and nobles, who 
had the means at their disposal, and wished to gratify one so 
distinguished by glory and renown. The Egyptians, it is 
true, and the neighbouring Ethiopians and Arabians, were 
not so entirely destitute of the luxuries of civilization, nor so 
unacquainted with the fame of Agamemnon, especially after the 
termination of the Trojan war, but that Menelaus might have 
expected some benefits from their generosity, even as the 
breastplate of Agamemnon is said to be 
" The gift 

Of Cinyras long since ; for rumour loud 

Had Cyprus reached." 3 

And we are told that the greater part of his wanderings were 
in Phoenicia, Syria, Egypt, Africa, around Cyprus, and, in 
fact, the whole of our coasts and islands. 4 Here, indeed, he 
might hope to enrich himself both by the gifts of friendship 

1 Blessed. 

2 The name of Arabia Felix is now confined to Yemen. A much 
larger territory was anciently comprehended under this designation, con- 
taining the whole of Hedjaz, and even Nedjed-el-Ared. It is probable 
that Strata) here speaks of Hedjaz, situated about two days' journey 
south of Mecca. 

3 Iliad xi. 20. 4 Of the Mediterranean. 



and by violence, and especially by the plunder of those who had 
been the allies of Troy. They however who dwelt on the ex- 
terior ocean, and the distant barbarians, held out no such en- 
couragement : and when Menelaus is said to have been in 
Ethiopia, it is because he had reached the frontiers of that coun- 
try next Egypt. But perhaps at that time the frontiers lay more 
contiguous to Thebes than they do now. At the present day the 
nearest are the districts adjacent to Syene and Philse, 1 the former 
town being entirely in Egypt, while PhilaB is inhabited by a 
mixed population of Ethiopians and Egyptians. Supposing 
therefore he had arrived at Thebes, and thus reached the 
boundary -line of Ethiopia, where he experienced the munifi- 
cence of the king, we must not be surprised if he is described 
as having passed through the country. 2 On no better au- 
thority Ulysses declares he has been to the land of the Cy- 
clops, although he merely left the sea to enter a cavern which 
he himself tells us was situated on the very borders of the 
country : and, in fact, wherever he came to anchor, whether 
at -ZEolia, Laestrygonia, or elsewhere, he is stated to have 
visited those places. In the same manner Menelaus is said 
to have been to Ethiopia and Libya, because here and there 
he touched at those places, and the port near Ardania above 
Parcetonium 3 is called after him "the port of Menelaus." 4 

33. When, after mentioning Phoenicia, he talks of Sidon, 
its metropolis, he merely employs a common form of expres- 
sion, for example, 

He urged the Trojans and Hector to the ships. 5 

For the sons of magnanimous CEneus were no more, nor was he himself 
surviving ; moreover, fair-haired Meleager was dead. 8 

He came to Ida and to Gargarus. 7 

1 Philse was built on a little island formed by the Nile, now called 

2 This is evidently Strabo's meaning ; but the text, as it now stands, 
is manifestly corrupt. 

3 El-Baretun. A description of this place will be found in the 
17th book. 

4 At this port it was that Agesilaus terminated his glorious career. 

5 Iliad xiii. 1. Strabo means that Homer, after having spoken of the 
Trojans in general, mentions Hector in particular. 

6 Iliad ii. 641. Having mentioned the sons of CEneus collectively, he 
afterwards distinguishes one of them by name. 

7 Iliad viii. 47. Gargarus was one of the highest peaks of Ida. 


He possessed Euboea, Chalcis, and Eretria. 1 
Sappho likewise [says], 

Whether Cyprus, or the spacious-harboured Paphos. 2 

But he had some other cause besides this for mentioning 
Sidon immediately after having spoken of the Phoenicians : 
for had he merely desired to recount the nations in order, it 
would have been quite sufficient to say, 

Having wandered to Cyprus, Phcenice, and the Egyptians, I came to 
the Ethiopians. 3 

But that he might record his sojourn amongst the Sidonians, 
which was considerably prolonged, he thought it well to refer 
to it repeatedly. Thus he praises their prosperity and skill 
in the arts, and alludes to the hospitality the citizens had 
shown to Helen and Alexander. Thus he tells us of the 
many [treasures] of this nature laid up in store by Alex- 
ander. 4 

" There his treasures lay, 
Works of Sidonian women, whom her son, 
The godlike Paris, when he crossed the seas 
With Jove-begotten Helen, brought to Troy." 5 

And also by Menelaus, who says to Telemachus, 

' I give thee this bright beaker, argent all, 
But round encircled with a lip of gold. 
It is the work of Vulcan, which to me 
The hero Phaedimus presented, king 
Of the Sidonians, when on my return 
Beneath his roof I lodged. I make it thine." 6 

Here the expression, " work of Vulcan," must be looked upon 
as a hyperbole : in the same way all elegant productions are 

1 Iliad ii. 536. Chalcis and Eretria were two cities of Euboea. 

2 We have here taken advantage of Casaubon's suggestion to read 
17 Travopp-og instead of 77 UdvopfjioQ, the Greek name for Palermo in 
Sicily, which was not founded in the time of Sappho. 

3 Odyssey iv. 83. * Paris. 

5 Where were her variously embroidered robes, the works of Sidonian 
females, which godlike Alexander himself had brought from Sidon, sailing 
over the broad ocean, in that voyage in which he carried off Helen, sprung 
from a noble sire. Iliad vi. 289. 

6 I will give thee a wrought bowl : it is all silver, and the lips are 
bound with gold; it is the work of "Vulcan: the hero Phaedimus, king 
of the Sidonians, gave it [to me], when his home sheltered me, as I was 
returning from thence, i wish to give this to thee. Odyssey xv. 115. 



said to be the work of Minerva, of the Graces, or of the Muses. 
But that the Sidonians were skilful artists, is clear from the 
praises bestowed [by Homer] on the bowl which Euneos gave 
in exchange for Lycaon : 

" Earth 

Own'd not its like for elegance of form. 

Skilful Sidonian artists had around 

Etnbellish'd it, and o'er the sable deep 

Phoenician merchants into Lemnos' port 

Had borne it." l 

34. Many conjectures have been hazarded as to who the 
Erembi were : they who suppose the Arabs are intended, seem 
to deserve the most credit. 

Our Zeno reads the passage thus : 
I came to the Ethiopians, the Sidonians, and the Arabians. 
But there is no occasion to tamper with the text, which is of 
great antiquity; it is a far preferable course to suppose a 
change in the name itself, which is of frequent and ordinary 
occurrence in every nation : and in fact certain grammarians 
establish this view by a comparison of the radical letters. 
Posidonius seems to me to adopt the better plan after all, in 
looking for the etymology of names in nations of one stock and 
community ; [thus between, the Armenians, Syrians, and Ara- 
bians there is a strong affinity both in regard to dialect, mode 
of life, peculiarities of physical conformation, and above all 
in the contiguity of the countries. Mesopotamia, which is a 
motley of the three nations, is a proof of this ; for the similar- 
ity amongst these three is very remarkable. And though in 
consequence of the various latitudes there may be some differ- 
ence between those who dwell in the north 2 and those of the 
the south, 3 and again between each of these and the inhabit- 
ants of the middle region, 4 still the same characteristics are 
dominant in all.] Also the Assyrians and Arians have a great 
affinity both to these people and to each other. And [Posi- 
donius] believes there is a similarity in the names of these 
different nations. Those whom we call Syrians style them- 
selves Armenians and ArammaBans, names greatly like those of 
the Armenians, Arabs, and Erembi. Perhaps this [last] term 

1 But in beauty it much excelled [all] upon the whole earth, for the in- 
genious Sidonians had wrought it cunningly, and Phoenician men had 
carried it. Iliad xxiii. 742. 

2 The Armenians. 3 The Arabs. * The Syrians. 


is that by which the Greeks anciently designated the Arabs ; 
the etymon of the word certainly strengthens the idea. Many 
deduce the etymology of the Erembi from '{par ^ucuv<j/, (to go 
into the earth,) which [they say] was altered by the people of a 
later generation into the more intelligible name of Troglodytes, 1 
by which are intended those Arabs who dwell on that side of 
the Arabian Gulf next to Egypt and Ethiopia. It is probable 
then that the poet describes Menelaus as having visited these 
people in the same way that he says he visited the Ethiopians ; 
for they are likewise near to the Thebaid ; and he mentions them 
not on account of any commerce or gain, (for of these there 
was not much,) but probably to enhance the length of the 
journey and his meed of praise : for such distant travelling 
was highly thought of. For example, 

" Discover'd various cities, and the mind 

And manners learn'd of men in lands remote.'' 2 

And again : 

" After numerous toils 

And perilous wanderings o'er the stormy deep, 
In the eighth year at last I brought them home." 3 

Hesiod, in his Catalogue, 4 writes, 

And the daughter of Arabus, whom gracious Hermes and Thronia, 
descended from king Belus, brought forth. 

Thus, too, says Stesichorus. Whence it seems that at that 
time the country was from him named Arabia, though it is 
not likely this was the case in the heroic period. 5 

35. There are many who would make the Erembi a tribe 
of the Ethiopians, or of the Cephenes, or again of the Pygmies, 
and a thousand other fancies. These ought to be regarded 
with little trust ; since their opinion is not only incredible, 
but they evidently labour under a certain confusion as to the 

1 Dwelling in caverns. 

2 He saw the cities of many men, and learned their manners. Odyssey 
i. 3. 

3 Having suffered many things, and having wandered much, I was 
brouaht. Odyssey iv. 81. 

4 See Hesiod, Fragments, ed. Loesner, p. 434. 

5 This derivation of Arabia is as problematical as the existence of the 
hero from whom it is said to have received its name ; a far more probable 
etymology is derived from ereb, signifying the west, a name supposed to 
have been conferred upon it at a very early period by a people inhabiting 

F 2 


different characters of history and fable. In the same category 
must be reckoned those who place the Sidonians and Phosni- 
cians in the Persian Gulf, or somewhere else in the Ocean, and 
make the wanderings of Menelaus to have happened there. 
Not the least cause for mistrusting these writers is the man- 
ner in which they contradict each other. One half would have 
us believe that the Sidonians are a colony from the people 
whom they describe as located on the shores of the [Indian] 
Ocean, and who they say were called Pho3nicians from the 
colour of the Erythraan Sea, while the others declare the 
opposite. 1 

Some again would transport Ethiopia into our Phoenicia, 
and make Joppa the scene of the adventures of Andromeda ; 2 
and this not from any ignorance of the topography of those 
places, but by a kind of mythic fiction similar to those of 
Hesiod and other writers censured by Apollodorus, who, how- 
ever, couples Homer with them, without, as it appears, any 
cause. He cites as instances what Homer relates of the 
Euxine and Egypt, and accuses him of ignorance for pretend- 
ing to speak the actual truth, and then recounting fable, all the 
while ignorantly mistaking it for fact. Will anyone then accuse 
Hesiod of ignorance on account of his Hemicynes* his Macro- 
cephalif and his Pygmies ; or Homer for his like fables, and 
amongst others the Pygmies themselves ; or Alcman 5 for de- 
scribing the Steganopodes;* or ^Eschylus for his Cyno- 
cephali? Sternophthalmi* and Monommati; 9 when amongst 
prose writers, and in works bearing the appearance of verit- 
able history, we frequently meet with similar narrations, and 
that without any admission of their having inserted such 
myths. Indeed it becomes immediately evident that they 
have woven together a tissue of myths not through ignorance 

1 That is, that the Phoenicians and Sidonians dwelling around the Per- 
sian Gulf are colonies from those inhabiting the shores of the Mediterranean. 

2 As to this fact, upon which almost all geographers are agreed, it is 
only rejected by Strabo because it stands in the way of his hypothesis. 

3 Half men, half dogs. * Long-headed men. 

5 A celebrated poet who flourished about seven centuries before the 
Christian era, said to have been a native of Sardis in Lydia. Only three 
short fragments of his writings are known to be in existence. 

6 Men who covered themselves with their feet. 
: Dog-headed men. 

' People having their eyes in their breasts. 9 One-eyed. 


of the real facts, but merely to amuse by a deceptive narra- 
tion of the impossible and marvellous. If they appear to do 
this in ignorance, it is because they can romance more fre- 
quently and with greater plausibility on those things which 
are uncertain and unknown. This Theopompus plainly con- 
fesses in the announcement of his intention to relate the fables 
in his history in a better style than Herodotus, Ctesias, Hel- 
lanicus, and those who had written on the affairs of India. 

36. Homer has described to us the phenomena of the ocean 
under the form of a myth ; this [art] is very desirable in a 
poet ; the idea of his Charybdis was taken from the ebb 
and flow of the tide, and w r as by no means a pure inven- 
tion of his own, but derived from what he knew concerning 
the Strait of Sicily. 1 And although he states that the ebb 
and flow occurred thrice during the four and twenty hours, 
instead of twice, 

" (Each day she thrice disgorges, and each day 
Thrice swallows it,") 2 

we must suppose that he said this not through any ignorance 
of the fact, but for tragic effect, and to excite the fear which 
Circe endeavours to infuse into her arguments to deter 
Ulysses from departing, even at a little expense of truth. 
The following is the language Circe makes use of in her 
speech to him : 

" Each day she thrice disgorges, and each day 
Thrice swallows it. Ah! we 11 -forewarn'd beware 
What time she swallows, that thou come not nigh, 
For not himself, Neptune, could snatch thee thence." 3 

And yet when Ulysses was ingulfed in the eddy he was not 
lost. He tells us himself, 

' It was the time when she absorb'd profound 
The briny flood, but by a wave upborne, 
I seized the branches fast of the wild fig, 
To which bat-like I clung." 4 

1 The Strait of Messina. 

2 For thrice in a day she sends it out, and thrice she sucks it in. 
Odyssey xii. 105. 

3 For thrice in a day she sends it out, and thrice she sucks it in terribly. 
Mayest thou not come hither when she is gulping it ; for not even Nep- 
tune could free thee from ill. Odyssey xii. 1U5. 

4 She gulped up the briny water of the sea ; but I, raised on high to 
the lofty fig-tree, held clinging to it, as a bat. Odyssey xii. 431. 


And then having waited for the timbers of the wreck he seized 
hold of them, and thus saved himself. Circe, therefore, had 
exaggerated both the peril, and also the fact of its vomiting 
forth thrice a day instead of twice. However, this latter is a 
hyperbole which every one makes use of ; thus we say thrice- 
happy and thrice-miserable. 
So the poet, 

" Thrice-happy Greeks ! " l 

" O delightful, thrice-wished for ! " 2 
And again, 

" O thrice and four times." 3 

Any one, too, might conclude from the passage itself that 
Homer even here hinted at the truth, for the long time which 
the remains of the wreck lay under water, which Ulysses, who 
was all the while hanging suspended to the branches, so anxi- 
ously desired to rise, accords much better with the ebb and 
flow taking place but twice during the night and day instead 
of thrice. 

" Therefore hard 

I clench'd the boughs, till she disgorged again 

Both keel and mast. Not undesired by me 

They came, though late ; for at what hour the judge, 

After decision made of numerous strifes 

Between young candidates for honour, leaves 

The forum, for refreshment's sake at home, 

Then was it that the mast and keel emerged." 4 

Every word of this indicates a considerable length of time, 
especially when he prolongs it to the evening, not merely say- 
ing at that time when the judge has risen, but having adju- 
dicated on a vast number of cases, and therefore detained 
longer than usual. Otherwise his account of the return of the 
wreck would not have appeared likely, if he had brought it 
back again with the return of the wave, before it had been 
first carried a long way off. 

37. Apollodorus, who agrees with Eratosthenes, throws 
much blame upon Callimachus for asserting, in spite of his 

1 Odyssey v. 306. 2 Iliad viii. 488. 3 Iliad iii. 363. 

4 But I held without ceasing, until she vomited out again the mast and 
keel ; and it came late to me wishing for it : as late as a man has risen 
from the forum to go to supper, adjudging many contests of disputing 
youths, so late these planks appeared from Charybdis. Odyssey xii. 437. 


character as a grammarian, that Gaudus 1 and Corcyra 2 were 
among the scenes of Ulysses' wandering, such an opinion 
being altogether in defiance of Homer's statement, and his de- 
scription of the places as situated in the exterior ocean. 3 

This criticism is just if we suppose the wandering to have 
never actually occurred, and to be merely the result of Ho- 
mer's imagination ; but if it did take place, although in other 
regions, Apollodorus ought plainly to have stated which they 
were, and thus set right the mistake of Callimachus. Since, 
however, after such evidence as we have produced, we cannot 
believe the whole account to be a fiction, and since no other more 
likely places have as yet been named, we hold that the gram- 
marian is absolved from blame. 

38. Demetrius of Skepsis is also wrong, and, in fact, the 
cause of some of the mistakes of Apollodorus. He eagerly 
objects to the statement of Neanthes of Cyzicus, that the 
Argonauts, when they sailed to the Phasis, 4 founded at 
Cyzicus the temples of the Idsean Mother. 5 Though their 
voyage is attested both by Homer and other writers, he 
denies that Homer had any knowledge whatever of the de- 
parture of Jason to the Phasis. In so doing, he not only 
contradicts the very words of Homer, but even his own asser- 
tions. The poet informs us that Achilles, having ravaged 
Lesbos 6 and other districts, spared Lemnos 7 and the adjoining 
islands, on account of his relationship with Jason and his son 
Euneos, 8 who then had possession of the island. How should 
he know of a relationship, identity of race, or other con- 
nexion existing between Achilles and Jason, which, after all, 
was nothing else than that they were both Thessalians, one 
being of lolcos, 9 the other of the Achaean Pthiotis, 10 and yet 

1 Gaudus, the little island of Gozo near Malta, supposed by Callima- 
chus to have been the Isle of Calypso. 

2 It seems more probable that Callimachus intended the island of Cor- 
sura, now Pantalaria, a small island between Africa and Sicily. 

8 The Atlantic. 4 A river of Colchis, hodie Fasz or Rion. 

5 Cybele, so named because she had a temple on Mount Ida. 

6 An island in the ^Egaean, now Meteline. 

7 Hodie Lemno or Stalimene. 

8 Euneos was the eldest of the children which Hypsipele, daxighter of 
Thoas, king of Lemnos, had by Jason during his stay in that island. 

9 A town sitiiated at the bottom of the Pelasgic Gulf, hodie Volo. 

10 A country of Thessaly, which received its designation of Achaean, 
from the same sovereign who left his name to Achaia in Peloponnesus. 



was not aware how it happened that Jason, who was a Thes- 
salian of lolcos, should leave no descendants in the land of his 
nativity, but establish his son as ruler of Lemnos ? Homer 
then was familiar with the history of Pelias and the daughters 
of Pelias, of Alcestis, who was the most charming of them 
all, and of her son 

" Eumelus, whom Alcestis, praised 
For beauty above all her sisters fair, 
In Thessaly to king Admetus bore," 1 

and was yet ignorant of all that befell Jason, and Argo, and 
the Argonauts, matters on the actual occurrence of which all 
the world is agreed. The tale then of their voyage in the 
ocean from JEeta, was a mere fiction, for which he had no 
authority in history. 

39. If, however, the expedition to the Phasis, fitted out by 
Pelias, its return, and the conquest of several islands, have at 
the bottom any truth whatever, as all say they have, so also 
has the account of their wanderings, no less than those of 
Ulysses and Menelaus ; monuments of the actual occurrence 
of which remain to this day elsewhere than in the writings of 
Homer. The city of ^Ea, close by the Phasis, is still pointed 
out. -ZEetes is generally believed to have reigned in Colchis, 
the name is still common throughout the country, tales of the 
sorceress Medea are yet abroad, and the riches of the country 
in gold, silver, and iron, proclaim the motive of Jason's ex- 
pedition, as well as of that which Phrixus had formerly un- 
dertaken. Traces both of one and the other still remain. 
Such is Phrixium, 2 midway between Colchis and Iberia, and 
the Jasonia, or towns of Jason, which are every where met 
with in Armenia, Media, and the surrounding countries. 
Many are the witnesses to the reality of the expeditions of 
Jason and Phrixus at Sinope 3 and its shore, at Propontis, at the 
Hellespont, and even at Lemnos. Of Jason and his Colchian 
followers there are traces even as far as Crete, 4 Italy, and the 
Adriatic. Callimachus himself alludes to it where he says, 

' Eumelus, whom Alcestis, divine amongst women, most beautiful in 
form of the daughters of Pelias, brought forth to Admetus. Iliad 
ii. 714. 

2 Named Ideessa in the time of Strabo. Strabo, book xi. c. ii. 18. 

3 Sinub. * Candia. 


" [The temple of] Apollo and [the Isle of] Anaphe, 1 
Near to Laconian Thera." 2 

In the verses which commence, 

" I sing how the heroes from Cytaean ^Eeta, 
Return'd again to ancient ^Emonia." 3 

And again concerning the Colchians, who, 

" Ceasing to plough with oars the Illyrian Sea, 4 
Near to the tomb of fair Harmonia, 
Who was transform'd into a dragon's shape, 
Founded their city, which a Greek would call 
The Town of Fugitives, but in their tongue 
Is Pola named." 

Some writers assert that Jason and his companions sailed 
high up the Ister, others say he sailed only so far as to be 
able to gain the Adriatic : the first statement results altogether 
from ignorance ; the second, which supposes there is a second 
Ister having its source from the larger river of the same name, 
and discharging its waters into the Adriatic, is neither incredi- 
ble nor even improbable. 5 

40. Starting from these premises, the poet, in conformity 
both with general custom and his own practice, narrates some 
circumstances as they actually occurred, and paints others in 
the colours of fiction. He follows history when he tells us of 
JE>etes and Jason also, when he talks of Argo, and on the au- 
thority of [the actual city of -fl2a], feigns his city of ^Ea3a, 
when he settles Euneos in Lemnos, and makes that island 
friendly to Achilles, and when, in imitation of Medea, he makes 
the sorceress Circe 

" Sister by birth of the all-wise ^etes," e 

he adds the fiction of the entrance of the Argonauts into the 
exterior ocean as the sequel to their wanderings on their re- 
turn home. Here, supposing the previous statements admit- 
ted, the truth of the phrase " the renowned Argo," 7 is evident, 

1 Hodie The Isle of Nanfio. 

2 Now the Island of Callistb, founded by Theras the Lacedaemonian 
more than ten centuries before the Christian era. 

3 A name of Thessaly. 4 The Gulf of Venice. 

5 The erroneous opinion that one of the mouths of the Danube emptied 
itself into the Adriatic is very ancient, being spoken of by Aristotle as a 
well-known fact, and likewise supported by Theopompus, Hipparchus, 
and many other writers. 

6 Odyssey x. 137. 7 Odyssey xii. 70. 


since, in that case, the expedition was directed to a populous 
and well-known country. But if, as [Demetrius] of Skep- 
sis asserts, on the authority of Miranermus, ^Eetes dwelt by 
the Ocean, and Jason was sent thither far east by Pelias, 
to bring back the fleece, it neither seems probable that such 
an expedition would have been undertaken into unknown and 
obscure countries after the Fleece, nor could a voyage to 
lands desert, uninhabited, and so far remote from us, be con- 
sidered either glorious or renowned. 
[Here follow the words of Demetrius. J. 

" Nor as yet had Jason, having accomplished the arduous journey, car- 
ried off the splendid fleece from ^Ea, fulfilling the dangerous mission of 
the insolent Felias, nor had they ploughed the glorious wave of the 

And again : 

" The city of ./Eetes, where the rays of the swift sun recline on their 
golden bed by the shore of the ocean, which the noble Jason visited." 


1. ERATOSTHENES is guilty of another fault in so fre- 
quently referring to the works of men beneath his notice, 
sometimes for the purpose of refuting them ; at others, 
when he agrees with them, in order to cite them as authori- 
ties. I allude to Damastes, and such as him, who even when 
they speak the truth, are utterly unworthy of being appealed 
to as authorities, or vouchers for the credibility of a statement. 
For such purposes the writings of trustworthy men should only 
be employed, who have accurately described much; and though 
perhaps they may have omitted many points altogether, and 
barely touched on others, are yet never guilty of wilfully falsi- 
fying their statements. To cite Damastes as an authority is 
little better than to quote the Bergaean, 1 or Euemerus the 
Messenian, and those other scribblers whom Eratosthenes 

1 Antiphanes of Berga, a city of Thrace. This writer was so noted for 
his falsehoods, that flepyai&tv came to be a proverbial term for design- 
ating that vice. 


himself sneers at for their absurdities. Why, he even points 
out as one of the follies of this Damastes, his observation that 
the Arabian Gulf was a lake ; 1 likewise the statement that 
Diotimus, the son of Strombicus and chief of the Athenian 
legation, sailed through Cilicia up the Cydnus 2 into the river 
Choaspes, 3 which flows by Susa, 4 and so arrived at that capital 
after forty days' journey. This particular he professes to state 
on the authority of Diotimus himself, and then expresses his 
wonder whether the Cydnus could actually cross the Euphrates 
and Tigris in order to disgorge itself into the Choaspes. 5 

2. However, this is not all we have to say against him. 
Of many places he tells us that nothing is known, when 
in fact they have every one been accurately described. Then 
he warns us to be very cautious in believing what we are 
told on such matters, and endeavours by long and tedious 
arguments to show the value of his advice ; swallowing at 
the same time the most ridiculous absurdities himself con- 
cerning the Euxine and Adriatic. Thus he believed the 
Bay of Issus 6 to be the most easterly point of the Mediterra- 
nean, though Dioscurias, 7 which is nearly at the bottom of the 
Pontus Euxinus, is, according to his own calculations, farther 
east by a distance of 3000 stadia. 8 In describing the northern 
and farther parts of the Adriatic he cannot refrain from simi- 
lar romancing, and gives credit to many strange narrations 
concerning what lies beyond the Pillars of Hercules, inform- 
ing us of an Isle of Kerne there, and other places now no- 
where to be found, which we shall speak of presently. 

Having remarked that the ancients, whether out on piratical 

1 Thirty years before the time of this Damastes, Herodotus had de- 
monstrated to the Greeks the real nature of the Arabian Gulf. 

2 This river, called by the Turks Kara-sui, rises somewhere in Mount 
Taurus, and before emptying itself into the sea, runs through Tarsus. 

3 The Ab-Zal of oriental writers. 

4 The ancient capital cf the kings of Persia, now Schuss. 

5 The very idea that Diotimus could sail from the Cydnus into the Eu- 
phrates is most absurd, since, besides the distance between the two rivers, 
they are separated by lofty mountain-ridges. 

6 Now the Bay of Ajazzo. 7 Iskuriah. 

8 Gosselin justly remarks that this is a mere disputing about terms, 
since, though it is true the Mediterranean and Euxine flow into each 
other, it is fully admissible to describe them as separate. The same au- 
thority proves that we ought to read 3600 and not 3000 stadia, which he 
supposes to be a transcriber's error. 



excursions, or for the purposes of commerce, never ventured 
into the high seas, but crept along the coast, and instancing 
Jason, who leaving his vessels at Colchis penetrated into Ar- 
menia and Media on foot, he proceeds to tell us that formerly 
no one dared to navigate either the Euxine or the seas by 
Libya, Syria, and Cilicia. If by formerly he means pe- 
riods so long past that we possess no record of them, it is of 
little consequence to us whether they navigated those seas or 
not, but if [he speaks] of times of which we know any thing, 
and if we are to place any trust in the accounts which have 
come down to us, everj_one will admit that the anciejits appear 
to have made longer journeys both by sea ancLlan,d than_thir 
successors ; witness Bacchus, Hercules, nay Jason himself, 
and" again Uly_sses and Menelaus, of whom itomer tells us. 
It seems most probable thaF^Theseus and Pirithous are in- 
debted to some long voyages for the credit they afterwards 
obtained of having visited the infernal regions ; and in like 
manner the Dioscuri l gained the appellation of guardians of 
the sea, and the deliverers of sailors. 2 The sovereignty of 
the seaa-exeCJd by Minos, and the navigation carried on 
by thejPhoemciajja^is weljjiiiown. A little after the period 
of the Trojan war they had penetrated beyond the Pillars of 
Hercules, and founded cities as well there as to the midst of 
the African coast. 3 Is it not correct to number amongst the 
ancients "^cieas, 4 An tenor, 5 the Heneti, and all the crowd of 
warriors, who, after the destruction of Troy, wandered over 
the face of the whole earth ? For at the conclusion of the war 

1 Castor and Pollux. 

2 Castor and Pollux were amongst the number of the Argonauts. On 
their return they destroyed the pirates who infested the seas of Greece 
and the Archipelago, and were in consequence worshipped by sailors as 
tutelary deities. 

3 The Phoenicians or Carthaginians despatched Hanno to found certain 
colonies on the western coast of Africa, about a thousand years before 
the Christian era. 

* Strabo here follows the general belief that JEneas escaped to Italy 
after the sack of Troy, a fact clearly disproved by Homer, Iliad xx. 307, 
who states that the posterity of JEneas were in his time reigning at 
Troy. To this passage Strabo alludes in his 13th book, and, contrary 
to his general custom, hesitates whether to follow Homer's authority or 
that of certain grammarians who had mutilated the passage in order to 
flatter the vanity of the Romans, who took pride in looking up to ^Eneas 
and the Trojans as their ancestors. 

6 Antenor having betrayed his Trojan countrymen was forced to fly. 

CHAP. m. 3, 4. INTRODUCTION. < ' 

both the Greeks and Barbarians found themselves deprived, 
*TKe one oTfKeir livelihood at .home, the ojther of the fruits of 
their expedition ; ?o that when Troy was overthrown, the 
victors, and still more the vanquished, who had survived the 
conflict, were compelled by want to a life of .piracy ; and we 
learn that they became the founders of many cities along the 
sea^cpast beyond Greece, 1 besides several inland jejfctlements. 2 

3. Again, having discoursed on the advance of knowledge 
respecting the Geography of the inhabited earth, between the 
time of Alexander and the period when he was writing, Era- 
tosthenes goes into a description of the figure of the earth ; 
not merely of the habitable earth, an account of which would 
have been very suitable, but of the whole earth, which should 
certainly have been given too, but not in this disorderly man- 
ner. He proceeds to tell us that the earth is spheroidal, not 
however perfectly so, inasmuch as it has certain irregula- 
rities, he then enlarges on the successive changes of its form, 
occasioned by water, fire, earthquakes, eruptions, and the 
like; all of whichTs entirely out of place, for"" the spheroidal 
form of the whole earth is the result of the system of the uni- 
verse, and the phenomena which he mentions do not in the 
least change its general form ; such little matters being en- 
tirely ^ost in the great mass of the earth. Still they cause 
variouspeTJuliarities m different parts of our globe, and result 
from a variety of causes. 

4. He points out as a most interesting subject for disquisi- 
tion the fact of our^finding, often quite inland, two or three 
thousand stadia fronTthe sea, vast numbers of muscle, ouster, 
and scallop-shells, and salt-water lakes. 3 He gives as an 

It is generally stated that, taking with him a party of the Heneti, (a peo- 
ple of Asia Minor close to the Euxine,) who had come to the assistance of 
Priam, he founded the city of Padua in Italy. From this people the dis- 
trict in which Padua is situated received the name of Henetia, afterwards 
Venetia or Venice. 

1 The coasts of Italy. 

2 It is generally ^admitted that the events of the Trojan war gave rise 
to numerous^ colonies. 

3 lire word~Xr^i/o0dXa(7<7a frequently signifies a salt marsh. The 
French editors remark that it was a name given by the Greeks to 
lagoons mostly found in the vicinity of the sea, though entirely sepa- 
rated therefrom. Those which communicated with the sea were termed 


instance, that about the temple ofAmmon. 1 and along the road 
to it for the space of SOOOstadia, there are yet found a vast 
amount of oyster shells, many salt-beds, and salt springs bub- 
bling up, besides which are pointed out numerous fragments 
of wreck which they say have been cast up througlisome 
opem!lg, and dolphins placed on pedestals with the inscription, 
Of the delegates from Gyrene. Herein he agrees with the 
opinion of Siralo the naturjd^^hilosppher, and Xanthus of 
Lydia. Xanthus mentioned that in the reign of Arfaxerxes 
tnere was so great a drought, that every river, lake, and well 
was dried up : and that in many places he had seen a long way 
from the sea fossil shells, some like cockles, others resembling 
scallop shells, "also salt lakes in Arjmenia, Matiana, 2 and 
LowexJPhrygia, which induced him to believe that sea had 
formerly been where the land now was. Sirato, who went more 
deeply into the causes of these phenomena, was of opinion that 
formerly there was np_exit to the Euxine as now at Byzan- 
tium, but that the rivers running into it had forced a way 
through, and thus let the waters escape into the Propontis, 
and thence to the Hellespont. 3 And that a like change had 
occurred in the Mediterranean. For the sea being overflowed 
by the rivers, had opened for itself a passage by the Pillars of 
Hercules, and thus, much that was formerly covered by water, 
had been left dry. 4 He gives as the cause of this, that An- 
ciently the levels of the Mediterranean and Atlantic werejnpt 
TGe same, and states that a bank of earth, the remains of 
tlifTancient separation of the two seas, is still stretched under 
water from Europe to ^Africa. He adds, that the Euxine is 
fEe~most shallow, and the seasof Crete, Sicily, and Sardinia 
much deeper, which is occasioned by the number of large 

1 See book xvii. c. iii. 

2 A country close upon the Euxine. 

3 The Strait of the Dardanelles. 

4 At the time of Diodorus Siculus, the people of the Isle of Samo- 
thracia preserved the tradition of an inundation caused by a sudden ris- 
ing of the waters of the Mediterranean, which compelled the inhabitants 
to fly for refuge to the summits of the mountains; and long after, the 
fishermen's nets used to be caught by columns, which, prior to the catas- 
trophe, had adorned their edifices. It is said that the inundation origin- 
ated in a rupture of the chain of mountains which enclosed the valley which 
has since become the Thracian Bosphorus or Strait of Constantinople, 
through which the waters of the Black Sea flow into the Mediterranean. 


rivers flowing into the Euxine both from the north and east, 
and so filling it up with mud, whilst the others preserve their 
depth. This is the cause of the remarkable sweetness of the 
Euxine Sea, and of the currents which regularly set towards the 
deepest part. He gives it as his opinion, that should the rivers 
continue to flow in the same direction, the Euxine will in time 
be filled up [by the deposits], since already the left side of the 
sea is little else than shallows, as also Salmydessus, 1 and the 
shoals at the mouth of the Ister, and the desert of Scythia, 2 
which the sailors call the Breasts. Probably too the temple of 
Ammon was originally close to the sea, though now, by the con- 
tinual deposit of the waters, it is quite inland : and he con- 
jectures that it was owing to its being so near the sea that it be- 
came so celebrated and illustrious, and that it never would have 
enjoyed the credit it now possesses had it always been equally 
remote from the sea. Egypt too [he says] was formerly 
covered by sea as far_as the jmarshes nearJPelusium, 3 Mount 
Castus,"* and the Lake'^irHomsT Everi~at the~present time, 
when salt is being "Hug in Egypt, the beds are found under 
layers > 6l r sand andmingled with fossil shells, as if this district 
liacl ibrnferly been unoer"water, and as if the whole region 
about Casium and Gerrha 6 had been shallows reaching to the 
Arabian Gulf. The sea afterwards receding left the land un- 
covered, and the Lake Sirbonis remained, which having after- 
wards forced itself a passage, became a marsh. In like 
manner the borders of the Lake Moeris resemble a sea-beach 
rather than the banks of a river] Every one will admit that 
formerly at various periods a great portion of the mainland 
has been covered and again left bare by the sea. Likewise 
that the land now covered by the sea is not all on the same 
level, any more than that whereon we dwell ; which is now 

1 Now Midjeh, in Roumelia, on the borders of the Black Sea. Strabo 
alludes rather to the banks surrounding Salmydessus than to the town 

2 The part of Bulgaria next the sea, between Varna and the Danube, 
now Dobrudzie. 

vLXineh. * El-Kas. 

5 Lake Sebaket-Bardoil. 

6 Probably the present Maseli. Most likely the place was so named 
from the ytppa, or wattled huts, of the troops stationed there to prevent 
the ingress of foreign armies into Egypt. 


uncovered and has experienced so many changes, as Eratos- 
thenes has observed. Consequently in the reasoning of Xan- 
thus there does not appear to be any thing out of place. 

5. In regard to Strato, however, we must remark that, 
leaving out of the question the many arguments he has pro- 
perly stated, some of those which he has brought forward are 
quite inadmissible. For first he is inaccurate in stating that 
the beds of the interior and the exterior seas have not the 
same level, and that the depth of those two seas is different : 
whereas the cause why the sea is at one time raised, at an- 
other depressed, that it inundates certain places and again 
retreats, is not that the beds have different levels, some 
higher and some lower, but simply this, that the same beds 
are at one time raised, at another depressed, causing the sea 
to rise or subside with them ; for having risen they cause 
an inundation, and when they subside the waters return to 
their former places. For if it is so, an inundation will of 
course accompany every sudden increase of the waters of 
the sea, [as in the spring-tides,] or the periodical swelling 
of rivers, in the one instance the waters being brought to- 
gether from distant parts of the ocean, in the other, their 
volume being increased. But the risings of rivers are not 
violent and sudden, nor do the tides continue any length of 
time, nor occur irregularly ; nor yet along the coasts of our 
sea do they cause inundations, nor any where else. Con- 
sequently we must seek for an explanation of the cause 
either in the stratum composing the bed of the sea, or in that 
which is overflowed ; we prefer to look for it in the former, 
since by reason of its humidity it is more liable to shiftings 
and sudden changes of position, and we shall find that in these 
matters the wind is the great agent after all. But, I repeat 
it, the immediate cause of these phenomena, is not in the fact 
of one part of the bed of the ocean being higher or lower than 
another, but in the upheaving or depression of the strata on 
which the waters rest. Strato's hypothesis evidently originated 
in the belief that that which occurs in rivers is also the case in 
regard to the sea ; viz. that there is a flow of water from the 
higher places. Otherwise he would not have attempted to ac- 
count for the current he observed at the Strait of Byzantium in 
the manner he does, attributing it to the bed of the Euxine being 

CHAP. in. 6, 7. INTRODUCTION. 81 

higher than that of the Propontis and adjoining ocean, and 
even attempting to explain the cause thereof: viz. that the 
bed of the Euxine is filled up and choked by the deposit of 
the rivers which flow into it ; and its waters in consequence 
driven out into the neighbouring sea. The same theory he 
would apply in respect to the Mediterranean and Atlantic, 
alleging that the bed of the former is higher than that of the 
latter, in consequence of the number of rivers which flow into 
it, and the alluvium they carry along with them. In that case 
there ought to be a like influx at the Pillars and Calpe, 1 as 
there is at Byzantium. But I waive this objection, as it might 
be asserted that the influx was the same in both places, but 
owing to the interference of the ebb and flow of the sea, be- 
came imperceptible. 

6. I rather make this inquiry : If there were any reason 
why, before the outlet was opened at Byzantium, the bed of the 
Euxine (being deeper than either that of the Propontis 2 or of 
the adjoining sea 3 ) should not gradually have become more 
shallow by the deposit of the rivers which flow into it, allow- 
ing it formerly either to have been a sea, or merely a vast 
lake greater than the Palus Maeotis ? This proposition being 
conceded, I would next ask, whether before this the bed of 
the Euxine would not have been brought to the same level as 
the Propontis, and in that case, the pressure being counter- 
poised, the overflowing of the water have been thus avoided ; 
and if after the Euxine had been filled up, the superfluous waters 
would not naturally have forced a passage and flowed off, and 
by their commingling and power have caused the Euxine and 
Propontis to flow into each other, and thus become one sea ? 
no matter, as I said above, whether formerly it were a sea or a 
lake, though latterly certainly a sea. This also being conceded, 
they must allow that the present efflux depends neither upon 
the elevation nor the inclination of the bed, as Strato's theory 
would have us consider it. 

7. We would apply the same arguments to the whole of the 
Mediterranean and Atlantic, and account for the efflux of the 
former, not by any [supposed] difference between the elevation 
and inclination of its bed and of that of the Atlantic, but at- 

1 This city of Calpe was near Mount Calpe, one of the Pillars of Her- 

2 Sea of Marmora. * The ./Egaean. 


BOOK. 1. 

tribute it to the number of rivers which empty themselves into 
it. Since, according to this supposition, it is not incredible that, 
had the whole of the Mediterranean Sea in times past been but 
a lake filled by the rivers, and having overflowed, it might have 
broken through the Strait at the Pillars, as through a cataract; 
and still continuing to swell more and more, the Atlantic in 
course of time would have become confluent by that channel, 
and have run into one level, the Mediterranean thus becoming 
a sea. In fine, the Physician did wrong in comparing the sea 
to rivers, for the latter are borne down as a descending stream, 
but the sea always maintains its level. The currents of 
straits depend upon other causes, not upon the accumulation 
of earth formed by the alluvial deposit from rivers, filling up 
the bed of the sea. This accumulation only goes on at the 
mouths of rivers. Such are what are called the Stethe or 
Breasts at the mouth of the Ister, 1 the desert of the Scythians, 
and Salmydessus, which are partially occasioned by other 
winter-torrents as well ; witness the sandy, low, and even coast 
of Colchis, 2 at the mouth of the Phasis, 3 the whole of the coast 
of Themiscyra, 4 named the plain of the Amazons, near the 
mouths of the Thermodon 5 and Iris, 6 and the greater part of 
Sidene. 7 It is the same with other rivers, they all resemble 
the Nile in forming an alluvial deposit at their mouths, some 
more, some less than others. Those rivers which carry but 
little soil with them deposit least, while others, which traverse 
an extended and soft country, and receive many torrents in 
their course, deposit the greatest quantity. Such for example 
is the river Pyramus, 8 by which Cilicia has been considerably 
augmented, and concerning which an oracle has declared, " This 
shall occur when the wide waters of the Pyramus have enlarged 
their banks as far as sacred Cyprus." 9 This river becomes na- 
vigable from the middle of the plains of Cataonia, and entering 
Cilicia 10 by the defiles of the Taurus, discharges itself into the 
sea which flows between that country and the island of Cyprus. 

Danube, 2 Mingrelia. 3 The river Fasz. 

Now Djanik. The river Thermeh. 6 The Jekil-Irmak. 

Sidin, or Valisa, is comprised in the territory of Djanik, being part of 
th ancient kingdom of Pontus. 

The river Geihun. 

Gosselin remarks that the alluvial deposit of this river is now no 
nearer to Cyprus than it was at the time of the prediction. 
10 Cilicia and Cataonia are comprised in the modern Aladeuli. 

CHAP. in. 8, 9. INTRODUCTION. 83 

8. These river deposits are prevented from advancing fur- 
ther into the sea by the regularity of the ebb and flow, which 
continually drive them back. For after the manner of living 
creatures, which go on inhaling and exhaling their breath con- 
tinually, so the sea in a like way keeps up a constant motion 
in and out of itself. Any one may observe who stands on the 
sea-shore when the waves are in motion, the regularity with 
which they cover, then leave bare, and then again cover up 
his feet. This agitation of the sea produces a continual move- 
ment on its surface, which even when it is most tranquil has 
considerable force, and so throws all extraneous matters on 
to the land, and 

" Flings forth the salt weed on the shore." l 

This effect is certainly most considerable when the wind is on 
the water, but it continues when all is hushed, and even when 
it blows from land the swell is still carried to the shore against 
the wind, as if by a peculiar motion of the sea itself. To this 
the verses refer 

" O'er the rocks that breast the flood 
Borne turgid, scatter far the showery spray," 2 

" Loud sounds the roar of waves ejected wide." 3 

9. The wave, as it advances, possesses a kind of power, 
which some call the purging of the sea, to eject all foreign 
substances. It is by this force that dead bodies and wrecks 
are cast on shore. But on retiring it does not possess suffi- 
cient power to carry back into the sea either dead bodies, 
wood, or even the lightest substances, such as cork, which 
may have been cast out by the waves. And by this means 
when places next the sea fall down, being undermined by the 
wave, the earth and the water charged with it are cast "back 
again ; and the weight [of the mud] working at the same 
time in conjunction with the force of the advancing tide, it is 
the sooner brought to settle at the bottom, instead of being 

1 Iliad ix. 7. 

1 Being swollen it rises high around the projecting points, and spits 
from it the foam of the sea. Iliad iv. 4'25. 

3 The lofty shores resound, the wave being ejected [upon the beach]. 
Iliad xvii. 265. 

G 2 



carried out far into the sea. The force of the river current 
ceases at a very little distance beyond its mouth. Otherwise, 
supposing the rivers had an uninterrupted flow, by degrees 
the whole ocean would be filled in. from the beach on- 
wards, by the alluvial deposits. And this would be inevitable 
even were the Euxine deeper than the sea of Sardinia, than 
which a deeper sea has never been sounded, measuring, as it 
does, according to Posidonius, about 1000 fathoms. 1 

10. Some, however, may be disinclined to admit this ex- 
planation, and would rather have proof from things more 
manifest to the senses, and which seem to meet us at every 
turn. Now deluges, earthquakes, eruptions of wind, and 
risings in the bed of the sea, these things cause the rising 
of the ocean, as sinking of the bottom causes it to become 
lower. It is not the case that small volcanic or other islands 
can be raised up from the sea, and not large ones, nor that 
all islands can, but not continents, since extensive sinkings 
of the land no less than small ones have been known ; 
witness the yawning of those chasms which have ingulfed 
whole districts no less than their cities, as is said to have 
happened to Bura, 2 Bizone, 3 and many other towns at the 
time of earthquakes : and there is no more reason why one 
should rather think Sicily to have been disjoined from the 
main-land of Italy than cast up from the bottom of the sea by 
the fires of JEtna, as the Lipari and Pithecussan 4 Isles have 

11. However, so nice a fellow is Eratosthenes, that though 

1 The word opywia, here rendered fathoms, strictly means the length 
of the outstretched arms. As a measure of length it equals four TTTJXHC, 
or six feet one inch. Gosselin seems to doubt with reason whether they 
ever sounded such a depth as this would give, and proposes to compute 
it by a smaller stadium in use at the time of Herodotus, which would 
have the effect of diminishing the depth by almost one half. 

2 A city of Achaia near to the Gulf of Corinth. Pliny tells us it was 
submerged during an earthquake, about 371 years before the Christian 
era. According to Pausanias, it was a second time destroyed by the 
shock of an earthquake, but again rebuilt by the inhabitants who survived. 

3 A city placed by some in Thrace, but by others in Pontus ; a more 
probable opinion seems to be that Bizone was in Lower Moesia, on the 
westei-n side of the Euxine. Pomponius Mela asserts that Bizone was 
entirely destroyed by an earthquake, but according to Strabo, (lib. vii.,) 
who places it about 40 stadia from the sea, it was only partially de- 
molished. 4 Ischia. 


he professes himself a mathematician, 1 he rejects entirely the 
dictum of Archimedes, who, in his work " On Bodies in Suspen- 
sion," says that all liquids when left at rest assume a spherical 
form, having a centre of gravity similar to that of the earth. 
jTdictum which is~acknowledged by all who have the slight- 
est pretensions to mathematical sagacity. He says that the 
Mediterranean, which, according to his own description, is one 
entire sea, has not the same level even at points quite close 
to each other ; and offers us the authority of engineers for 
this piece of folly, notwithstanding the affirmation of mathe- 
maticians that engineering is itself only one division of the 
mathematics. He tells us that Demetrius 2 intended to cut 
through the Isthmus of Corinth, to open a passage for his 
fleet, but was prevented by his engineers, who, having taken 
measurements, reported that the level of the sea at the Gulf 
of Corinth was higher than at Cenchrea, 3 so that if he cut 
through the isthmus, not only the coasts near ^Egina, but 
even JEgina itself, with the neighbouring islands, would be 
laid completely under water, while the passage would prove 
of little value. According to Eratosthenes, it is this which 
occasions the current in straits, especially the current in the 
Strait of Sicily, 4 where effects similar to the flow and ebb of 
the tide are remarked. The current there changes twice in 
the course of a day and night, like as in that period the 
tides of the sea flow and ebb twice. In the Tyrrhenian sea 5 
the current which is called descendent, and which runs to- 
wards the sea of Sicily, as if it followed an inclined plane, 
corresponds to the flow of the tide in the ocean. We may 
remark, that this current corresponds to the flow both in the 
time of its commencement arid cessation. For it commences 
at the rising and setting of the moon, and recedes when that 
satellite attains its meridian, whether above [in the zenith] or 
below the earth [in the nadir]. In the same way occurs the 
opposite or ascending current, as it is called. It corresponds to 

1 We have here followed the earlier editions, as preferable to Kramer, 
who supplies firi before fJ.a9rjnaTiKOQ. 

2 Demetrius Poliorcetes : the same intention is narrated by Pliny and 
other historians of Julius Caesar, Caligula, and Nero. 

3 Kankri. 4 Strait of Messina. 

4 The sea which washes the shores of Tuscany. Strabo applies the 
term to the whole sea from the mouth of the Arno to Sicily. 


the ebb of the ocean, and commences as soon as the moon has 
reached either zenith or nadir, and ceases the moment she 
reaches the point of her rising or setting. [So far Eratosthenes.] 
12. The nature of the ebb and flow has been sufficiently treat- 
ed of by Posidonius and Athenodorus. Concerning the flux and 
reflux of the currents, which also may be explained by phy- 
sics, it will suffice our present purpose to observe, that in the 
various straits these do not resemble each other, but each strait 
has its own peculiar current. Were they to resemble each other, 
the current at the Strait of Sicily l would not change merely 
twice during the day, (as Eratosthenes himself tells us it does,) 
and at Chalcis seven times ; 2 nor again that of Constantinople, 
which does not change at all, but runs always in one direction 
from the Euxine to the Propontis, and, as Hipparchus tells us, 
sometimes ceases altogether. However, if they did all de- 
pend on one cause, it would not be that which Eratosthenes 
has assigned, namely, that the various seas have different levels. 
The kind of inequality he supposes would not even be found 
in rivers only for the cataracts ; and where these cataracts 
occur, they occasion no ebbing, but have one continued down- 
ward flow, which is caused by the inclination both of the flow 
and the surface ; and therefore though they have no flux or 
reflux they do not remain still, on account of a principle of 
flowing which is inherent in them ; at the same time they 
cannot be on the same level, but one must be higher and one 
lower than another. But who ever imagined the surface of 
the ocean to be on a slope, especially those who follow a sys- 
tem which supposes the four bodies we call elementary, to be 
spherical. 3 For water is not like the earth, which being of a 
solid nature is capable of permanent depressions and risings, 
but by its force of gravity spreads equally over the earth, 

1 Strait of Messina. 

2 Gosselin observes that Le Pfere Babin, who had carefully examined 
the currents of the Euripus of Chalcis, says that they are regular during 
eighteen or nineteen days of every month, the flux and reflux occurring 
twice in the twenty-four hours, and following the same laws as in 
the ocean ; but from the ninth to the thirteenth, and from the twenty- 
first to the twenty-sixth, of each lunar month they become irregular, the 
flux occurring from twelve to fourteen times in the twenty-four hours, 
and the reflux as often. 

3 See Plutarch, de Plac. Philos. lib. i. c. 14, and Stobams, Eel. Phys. 
lib. i. c. 18. 


and assumes that kind of level which Archimedes has assign- 
ed it. 

13. To what we cited before concerning the temple of Am- 
mon and Egypt, Eratosthenes adds, that to judge from ap- 
pearances, Mount Casius 1 was formerly covered by sea, and 
the whole district now" known as Gerra lay under shoal water 
touching the bay of the ErythraeanTSea, 2 but was left dry on 
the union 3 of the [Mediterranean] Sea [with the ocean]. A 
certain amphibology lurks here under this description of the 
district lying under shoal water and touching the bay of the 
Erythraean Sea; for to touch 4 both means to be close to, and 
also to be in actual contact with, so that when applied to 
water it would signify that one flows into the other. I under- 
stand him to mean, that so long as the strait by the PijjarsVf 
Hercules remained closed, these marshes covered with shoal- 
water extended as faras the ^AnibiajU^ulf, but on that pas- 
sage being forced. .open, the Mediterranean, discharging itself 
by the strait, became lower, and the land was left dry. 

On the otherTiand, Hipparchus understands by the term 
touching, that the Mediterranean, being over-full, flowed into 
the Erythraean Sea, and he inquires how it could happen, 
that as the Mediterranean flowed out by this new vent at the 
Pillars of Hercules, the Erythraean Sea, which was all one 
with it, did not flow away too, and thus become lower, but has 
always retained the same level ? and since Eratosthenes sup- 
poses the whole exterior sea to be confluent, it follows that the 
Western Ocean 5 and the Erythraean Sea are all one ; and thus 
[remarks Hipparchus] as a necessary consequence, the sea be- 
yond the Pillars of Hercules, the Erythraean Sea, and that also 
which is confluent with it, 6 have all the same level. 

1 El-K^g. 2 The Arabian Gulf. Mr. Stephenson, while examin- 

ing flie~Temsah Lakes, anciently called the Bitter Lakes, discovered re- 
cent marine remains similar to those on the shores of the present sea, 
clearly showing that the basin of the Temsah Lakes was the head of the 
Arabian Gulf at a period geologically recent. 

* We have here followed MSS. which all read vvveXOovviiG & T% $a- 
\arrrjs. The French editors propose ovvevSovcrriG e TYIQ flaXarrjjc, with 
the sense of " but on the retiring of the Mediterranean," &c. 

4 This accusation may not seem quite fair to the English reader. 
Touch is the nearest term in our language by which we can express the 
Greek vvvaTTTU), the use of which Strabo objects to in this passage ; still 
the meaning of the English word is much too definite for the Greek. 

5 The Atlantic. Viz. the Mediterranean. 


14. But, Eratosthenes would reply, I never said that, in con- 
sequence of the repletion of the Mediterranean, it actually 
flowed into the Erythraean Sea, but only that it approached 
very near thereto : besides, it does not follow, that in one and 
the self-same sea, the level of its surface must be all the same; 
to instance the Mediterranean itself, no one, surely, will say it 
is of the same height at Lechjeum l and at Cenchrea. 2 This 
answer Hipparchus anticipated in his Critique ; and being 
aware of the opinion of Eratosthenes, was justified in attacking 
his arguments. But he ought not to have taken it for granted, 
that when Eratosthenes said the exterior sea was all one, he 
necessarily implied that its level was every where the same. 

15. Hipparchus rejects as false the [account] of the inscrip- 
tion on the dolphins " by the delegates from Gyrene," but the 
reason he assigns for this is insufficient, viz. that though Gyrene 
was built in times of which we have record, no one mentions the 
oracle, 3 as being situated on the sea-shore. But what matters 
it that no historian has recorded this, when amongst the other 
proofs from which we infer that this place was formerly on 
the sea-shore, we number this of the dolphins which were set 
up, and the inscription, "by the delegates from Gyrene ?" 4 Hip- 
parchus agrees that if the bottom of the sea were raised up, 
it would lift the water with it, and might therefore overflow 
the land as far as the locality of the oracle, or more than 3000 
stadia from the shore ; but he will not allow that the rising 
would be sufficient to overflow the Island of Pharos and the 
major portion of Egypt, since [he says] the elevation would 
not be sufficient to submerge these. He alleges that if before 
the opening of the passage at the Pillars of Hercules, the 
Mediterranean had been swollen to such an extent as Eratos- 
thenes affirms, the whole of Libya, and the greater part of 
Europe and Asia, must long ago have been buried beneath its 

1 The western part of the town of Corinth, situated in the sea of 
Crissa. Its modern name is Pelagio. 

2 Kankri. 3 Viz. the temple of Jupiter Ammon, mentioned above. 
4 Gosselin remarks, Gyrene was founded 631 years before the Christian 

era, and at that time the limits of the Mediterranean were the same as 
they are now. Amongst the Greeks, dolphins were the ordinary symbols 
of the principal seaport towns ; and if the delegates from Gyrene set up 
this symbol of their country in the temple of Ammon, I see no reason 
why Eratosthenes and Strabo should regard the offering as a proof that 
the temple was on the sea-shore. 


waves. Besides, he adds, in this case the Euxine would in 
certain places have been connected with the Adriatic, since 
in the vicinity of the Euxine, [near to its source,] 1 the Ister 
is divided in its course, and flows into either sea, owing to the 
peculiarities of the ground. 2 To this we object, that the Ister 
does not take its rise at all in the vicinity of the Euxine, but, 
on the contrary, beyond the mountains of the Adriatic; neither 
does it flow into both the seas, but into the Euxine alone, and 
only becomes divided just above its mouths. This latter, 
however, was an error into which he fell in common with 
many of his predecessors. They supposed that there was 
another river in addition to the former Ister, bearing the 
same name, which emptied itself into the Adriatic, and from 
which the country of Istria, through which it flowed, gained 
that appellation. It was by this river they believed Jason 
returned on his voyage from Colchis. 

16. In order to lessen surprise at such changes as we have 
mentioned as causes of the inundations and other similar 
phenomena which are supposed to have produced Sicily, the 
islands of JEolus, 3 and the Pithecussas, it may be as well to 
compare with these others of a similar nature, which either 
now are, or else have been observed in other localities. A 
large array of such facts placed at once before the eye would 
serve to allay our astonishment ; while that which is uncommon 
startles our perception, and manifests our general ignorance of 
the occurrences which take place in nature and physical ex- 
istence. For instance, supposing any one should narrate the 
circumstances concerning Thera and the Therasian JEslands, 
situafecTin the strait between Crete and the Cyrenaic, 4 Thera 
being itself the metropolis of Cyrene ; or those [in connexion 

1 We have thought it necessary, with the French translators, to insert 
these words, since although they are found in no MS. of Strabo, the ar- 
gument which follows is clearly unintelligible without them. 

2 Hipparchus, believing that the Danube emptied itself by one mouth 
into the Euxine, and by another into the Adriatic Gulf, imagined that 
if the waters of the Mediterranean were raised in the manner proposed 
by Eratosthenes, the valley through which that river flows would have 
been submerged, and so formed a kind of strait by which the Euxine 
would have been connected to the Adriatic Gulf. 

3 The Lipari Islands. 

* There is some mistake here. Strabo himself elsewhere tells us that / 
the islands of Thera and Therasia were situated in the ^gaean Sea, near V 
to the island of Nanfio. ** 


with] Ejpjt, and many parts of Greece. For midway be- 
T&gcasia. flames rushed forth frorrPthe sea 
for the^spSce of four.jlays ; causing the whole of it to boil 
and be ajT~on^Hre ; and after a little an island tweTgfijjtaflia 
in circumference, composed of the burning mass, was thrown 
Jip. as if raised by machinery. After the cessation of this 
phenomenon, the Rhodians, then masters of the sea, were 
the first who dared to sail to the place, and Ifiey built 
there on the island a temple to the Asphalian 1 Neptune. 
Posidonius remarks, that during an earthquake which occur- 
recTm Phoenicia, a city situated above Si don was swallowed 
up, and tliatriearly two-thirds of Sidon~aTso fell, but not sud- 
denly, and therefore with no greatToss of life. That the same 
occurred, though in a lighter form, throughout nearly the whole 
of Syria, and was felt even in some of the Cyclades and the 
Island of Euboea, 2 so that the fountains of Arethusa, a spring 
in Chalcis, were completely obstructed, and after some time 
forced for themselves another opening, and the whole island 
ceased not to experience shocks until a chasm was rent open 
in the earth in the plain of Lelanto, 3 from which poured a 
river of burning mud. 

T7. Many writers have recorded similar occurrences, but it 
will suffice us to narrate those which have been collected by* 
Demetrius of Skepsis. 

Apropos of that passage of Homer : 

" And now they reach'd the running rivulets clear, 

Where from Scamander's dizzy flood arise 

Two fountains, tepid one, from which a smoke 

Issues voluminous as from a fire, 

The other, even in summer heats, like hail 

For cold, or snow, or crystal stream frost-bound :" 4 

this writer tells us we must not be surprised, that although 
the cold spring still remains, the hot cannot be discovered ; 

1 " Defending from danger." More probably, in this instance, the 
Securer of Foundations. 

2 Egripo. 

3 This plain was near the city of Chalcis, which at the present day 
bears the same name as the island itself. 

4 And reached the two fair -flowing springs, where the two springs of 
the eddying Scamander rise. The one, indeed, flows with tepid water, 
and a steam arises from it around, as of burning fire ; whilst the other 
flows forth in the summer time, like unto hail, or cold snow, or ice from 
water. Iliad xxii. 147. 


and says we must reckon the failing of the Lot spring as the 
cause. He goes on to relate certain catastrophes recorded by 
Democles, how formerly in the reign of Tantalus l there were 
great earthquakes in Lydia and Ionia as far as the Troad, 2 
which swallowed up whole, villages lind overturned Mount 
Sipylus ; 3 marshes then became lakes, and the city of Trov was 
covered by the waters. 4 Pharos, near Egypt, which anciently 
was an_Mand, may now be called a peninsula, and the same 
may be said of J?y_re and Clazpmenae. 5 

During my stay at Alexandria in Egypt the sea rose so 
high near Pelusium 6 and Mount Casius 7 as to overflow the 
land, and convert the mountain into an island, so that a 
journey from Casius into Phoenicia might have been under- 
taken by water. We should not be surprised therefore if in 
time to come the isthmus 8 which separates the Egyptian sea 9 
from the Erythraean, 10 should part asunder or subside, and be- 
coming a strait, connect the outer and inner seas, 11 similarly 
to what has taken place at the strait of the Pillars. 

At the commencement of this work will be found some 
other narrations of a similar kind, which should be considered 
at the same time, and which will greatly tend to strengthen our 
belief both in these works of nature and also in its other changes. 

18. The Piraeus having been formerly an, island, and lying 
Wpav, or ofFThe shore, is said to have thus received its name. 
Leucas, 12 on the contrary, has been made an island by the 
Corinthians, who cut through the isthmus which connected it 
with the shore [of tHe mainland]. It is concerning this place 
that Laertes is made to say, 

1 Tantalus lived about 1387, B. c. 

* Lydia and Ionia form the modern provinces of Aidin and Sarukan 
in Anadoli. A part of the Troad still preserves the name of Troiaki. 

2 A mountain in Maeonia, close to the city of Magnesia. 

4 Ilus, who ascended the throne about 1400 years before the Christian 
era, founded the city, to which he gave the name of Ilium. The old city 
of Troy stood on a hill, and was safe from the inundation. 

5 These two cities were built on little islets adjoining the continent. 
Alexander connected them with the mainland by means of jetties. 
Clazomenae was situated on the Gulf of Smyrna, near to a place now called 
Vurla or Burla. The present appellation of Tyre, on the coast of Pho2- 
nicia, is Sur. 

6 Tineh. T El-Kas. 8 Of Suez. 

9 That part of the Mediterranean adjoining Egypt. 

10 The Red Sea. " The Red Sea and Mediterranean. 12 Sta. Maura. 


" Oh that I posscss'd 
Such vigour now as when in arms \ took 
Nericus, continental city fair." ! 

Here man devoted his labour to make a separation, in 
other instances to the construction of moles and bridges. 
Such is that which connects the island opposite to Syracuse 2 
with the mainland. This junction is now effected by means 
of a bridge, but formerly, according to Ibycus, by a pier of 
picked stones, which he calls elect. Of Bura 3 and Helice, 4 
one has been swallowed by an earthquake, the other covered 
by the waves. Near to Methone, 5 which is on the Hermionic 
Gulf, 6 a mountain seven stadia in height was cast up during a 
fiery eruption ; during the day it could not be approached on 
account of the heat and sulphureous smell ; at night it 
emitted an agreeable odour, appeared brilliant at a distance, 
and was so hot that the sea boiled all around it to a distance 
of five stadia, and appeared in a state of agitation for twenty 
stadia, the heap being formed of fragments of rock as large as 
towers. Both Arne and Mideia 7 have been buried in the 
waters of Lake Copais. 8 These towns the poet in his Cata- 
logue 9 thus speaks of; 

" Arne claims 

A record next for her illustrious sons, 

Vine-bearing Arne. Thou wast also there 

Mideia." 10 

It seems that several Thracian cities have been submerged by 
the Lake Bistonis, 11 and that now called Aphnitis. 12 Some also 

1 Odyss. xxiv. 376. 

I The island of Ortygia, now St. Marcian. * Diakopton. 
4 Probably Bulika, according to others Trypia or Niora. 

* Methone is the same town which Pausanias (1. ii. c.3'2) names Methona, 
it was situated in the Argolis between Troezene and Epidaurus. The above 
writer tells us that in the reign of Antigonus, son of Demetrius king of 
Macedonia, there was a breaking out of subterranean fires close to Me- 
thona. This event, which it is probable Strabo alludes to, occurred some 
where between the year 277 and 244, oefore the Christian era. The town 
still exists under its ancient name of Methona. 

6 An error in all the MSS. The Saronic Gulf is intended. 

r Vide Strabo, b. ix. c. ii. 34, 35. 8 In Bceotia. 

9 The Second Iliad, or Catalogue of Ships. 

10 And those who inhabited grape-clustered Arne, and those [who in- 
habited] Mideia. Iliad ii. 007. 

II This Thracian lake or lagoon is now called Burum. It is formed by 
the mouths of several rivers, and lies to the north of the isle of Thaso. 

12 Diaskillo, a/. Biga. 


affirm that certain cities of Trerus were also overwhelmed, in 
the neighbourhood of Thrace. Artemita, formerly one of the 
Echinades, 1 is now part of the mainland; the same has hap- 
pened to some other of the islets near the Achelous, occasioned, 
it is said, in the same way, by the alluvium carried into the 
sea by that river, and Hesiod 2 assures us that a like fate 
awaits them all. Some of ihe ^Etoljan ^promontories were 
formerlj^Jslands. Asteria, 3 called by Homer Asteris, is no^ 
longer what it was. 

" There is a rocky isle 

In the mid-sea, Samos the rudebetween 

And Ithaca, not large, named Asteris. 

It hath commodious havens, into which 

A passage clear opens on either side." 4 

There is no good anchorage there now. Neither is there in 
Ithaca the cavern, nor yet the temple of the nymphs described 
to us by Homer. It seems more correct to attribute this to 
change having come over the places, than either to the ignor- 
ance or the romancing of the poet. This however, being 
uncertain, must be left to every man's opinion. 

19. Myrsilus tells us that Antissa 5 was formerly an island, 
and so called because it was opposite to Lesbos, 6 then named 
Issa. Now, however, it forms one of the towns of Lesbos. 7 
Seme have believed that Lesbos itself has been disjoined from 
Mount Ida in the same way as Prochytas 8 and Pithecussa 9 
from Misenum, 10 CapreaB n from the Athenaeum, Sicily from 

1 These are certain little islands at the mouth of the river Achelous, the 
modern Aspropotamo, which formed the boundary between Acarnania 
and ^Etolia. Now Curzolari. 

2 It is supposed we should here read Herodotus. Conf. Herod, ii. 10, 

3 Daskalio. 

4 Now there is a certain rocky island in the middle of the sea, between 
Ithaca and the rugged Samos, Asteris, not large ; and in it there are 
havens fit for ships, with two entrances. Odyssey iv. 844. 

5 That is to say, the territory opposite Issa ; probably the ruins near to 
Kalas Limenaias. 

6 The present island of Metelino. 

7 'H. df'AvTiffffa v7)ffoq i\v Trportpoj/, we Mwpffi'Xof r\GC rijg [ete] AeajScv 
KaXovfitvrjQ 7rp6repoj>*I<r!777c, Kai rrjv vfjtrov'AvTifftrav KaXtlaOai avvefli). 
Our rendering of this passage, though rather free, seemed necessary to the 
clear explication of the Greek. 

8 Procita. * Ischia. 

10 Miseno, the northern cape of the Gulf of Naples. 

11 Capri. 



Rhegium, 1 and Ossa from Olympus. 2 Many changes similar 
to these have occurred elsewhere. The river Ladon in Ar- 
cadia ceased for some time its flow. Duris informs us that 
the Rhagas 3 in Media gained that appellation from chasms 
made in the ground near the Gates of the Caspian 4 by earth- 
quakes, in which many cities and villages were destroyed, and 
the rivers underwent various changes. Ion, in his satirical 
composition of Omphale, has said of Eubcea, 

" The light wave of the Euripus has divided the land of Euboea from 
Bo2otia; separating the projecting land by a strait." 

20. Demetrius of Callatis, speaking of the earthquakes 
which formerly occurred throughout the whole of Greece, 
states that a great portion of the Lichadian Islands and of 
Kenaeum 5 were submerged ; that the hot springs 'of ./Edepsus 6 
and Thermopylae were suppressed for three days, and that 
when they commenced to run again those of .ZEdepsus gushed 
from new fountains. That at Oreus 7 on the sea-coast the 
wall and nearly seven hundred houses fell at once. That the 
greater part of Echinus, 8 Phalara, 9 and Heraclaea of Trachis 10 
were thrown down, Phalara being overturned from its very 
foundations. That almost the same misfortune occurred to 
the Lamians 11 and inhabitants of Larissa; that Scarpheia 12 
was overthrown from its foundations, not less than one 
thousand seven hundred persons being swallowed up, and at 

I Reggio. 

* These two mountains are separated from each other by the river 

3 'Payac, a rent or chink. This town was sixty miles from Ecbatana ; 
it was named by the Arabs Rai, and is now in ruins. It is the Rhages 
in Tobias. 

4 Certain mountain defiles, now called Firouz-Koh. 

* A western promontory of Euboea, called by the modern Greeks 
Kabo Lithari. The Lichadian Islands, which now bear the name of Li- 
tada, are close by. 

6 A city of Eubcea ; hod. Dipso. 7 In Euboea, now Orio. 

8 Now Echino ; belonged to Thessaly and was near the sea. 

9 Now Stillida ; situated on the Bay of Zeitoun. 

10 A little town situated in a plain amongst the mountains. It received 
its name from a tradition that Hercules abode there during the lime that 
the pyre on Mount CEta was being prepared, into which he cast himself. 

II Lamia in Thessaly. 

12 A city of the Epi-Cnemidian Locrians in Achaia ; its present name 
is Bondoniza. 


Thronium 1 more than half that number. That a torrent of water 
gushed forth taking three directions, one to Scarphe and Thro- 
nium, another to Thermopylae, and a third to the plains of 
Daphnus in Phocis. That the springs of [many] rivers were 
for several days dried up ; that the course of the Sperchius 2 
was changed, thus rendering navigable what formerly were high- 
ways ; that the Boagrius 3 flowed through another channel; 
that many parts of Alope, Cynus, and Opus were injured, 4 
and the castle of CEum. which commands the latter city, en- 
tirely overturned. That part of the wall of Elateia 5 was 
thrown down ; and that at Alponus, 6 during the celebration of 
the games in honour of Ceres, twenty-five maidens, who had 
mounted a tower to enjoy the show exhibited in the port, 
were precipitated into the sea by the falling of the tower. 
They also record that a large fissure was made [by the water] 
through the midst of the island of Atalanta, 7 opposite Eubrea, 8 
sufficient for ships to sail in ; that the course of the channel 
was in places as broad as twenty stadia between the plains ; 
and that a trireme being raised [thereby] out of the docks, 
was carried over the walls. 

21. Those who desire to instil into us that more perfect free- 
dom from [ignorant] wonder, which Democritus and all other 
philosophers so highly extol, should add the changes which have 
been produced by the migrations of various tribes : we should 
thus be inspired with courage, steadiness, and composure. 
For instance, the Western Iberians, 9 removed to the regions 
beyond the Euxine and Colchis, being separated from Arme- 

1 A town close to Scarpheia ; its ruins are said to be still visible at 
Palaio Kastro. 

2 Now Agriomela or Ellada, a river descending from Mount (Eta, and 
emptying itself into the Bay of Zeitoun. 

3 A torrent near Thronium ; its present name is Boagrio. 

4 Three cities of the Opuntian Locrians ; Cynus, the port of Opus, is 
now called Kyno. 

5 One of the principal cities of Phocis, near the river Cephissus ; a 
little village called Leuta stands on the ancient site. 

6 Probably the Alpene in Locris mentioned by Herodotus. 

7 The modern Talanta. 8 Egripo. 

9 The Western Iberians are the people who inhabited Spain, and were 
said to have removed into Eastern Iberia, a country situated in the centre 
of the isthmus which separates the Euxine from the Caspian Sea. The 
district is now called Carduel, and is a region of Georgia. 



nia, according to Apollodorus, by the Araxes, 1 but rather by 
the Cyrus 2 and Moschican mountains. 3 ' The expedition of 
the Egyptians into Ethiopia 4 and Colchis. The migration of 
the Heneti, 5 who passed from Paphlagonia into the country 
I bordering on the Adriatic Gulf. Similar ennVratipns were also 
undertaken by the nations of Greece, tTuTlonians, Dorians, 
Achaians, and .^Eolians ; and thlT^Enians, 6 now next neighbours 
ttTtHe jEtolians, formerly dwelt nealrTDotium 7 and Ossa, beyond 
the Perrhsebi ; 8 ffie~" PerrhaelSI too are but wanderers here 
theroselves. Our present work furnishes, numerous instances 
of the same kind. Some of these are familiar to most readers, 
but the migrations of the Carians. the Treres, the_Teucrians, 
and" the jjjatae^or Gauls, 9 are not so generally known. Nor 
yet for ~tne mosTparT are the expeditions of their chiefs, for 
instance, Madys the__^ythian, Tearko the Ethiopian, Cobus 
of Trerus, Sesostris and Psammeticus the Egyptians ; uoj^are 
those of the Persians from Cyrus to Xerxes familiar to every 
one. The Kimmerians, or a~separ"ate tribe of them, called the 
Treres, have frequently overrun the countries to the right of 
the Euxine and those adjacent to them, bursting now into 
Paphlagonia, now into Phrjgia, as they did when, according 
to report, Midas 1() came to his death by drinking bull's blood. 
Lygdamis lecl his followers into Lydia, passed througlTTonia, 
jtoojTj-Jardis, but was slain in Cilicia. The Kioomerians and 
jTreres frequently made similaFlncursions, until at last, as it 
is reported, these latter, togetherlvTtlTftheir chief] Cobus, were 

1 The river Aras. 2 The river Kur. 

3 The mountains which border Colchis or Mingrelia on the south. 

* According to Herodotus, Sesostris was the only Egyptian monarch 
who ever reigned in Ethiopia. Pliny says he penetrated as far as the 
promontory of Mosylon. 

5 Veneti. 

6 A small people of Thessaly, who latterly dwelt near Mount CEta, 
which separated them from ^Etolia and Phocis. 

A city and plahijnjrjiessaly, near to Mount Ossa. 

Lacedon, at the time of Strabo dwelling north of the 
river ' 

9 Few nations have wandered so far and wide as the Galatse. We meet 
with them in Europe, Asia, and Africa, under the various names of Galatae, 
Galatians, Gauls, and Kelts. Galatia, in Asia Minor, was settled by one 
of these hordes. 

10 There were many kings of Phrygia of this name. 


driven out by Madys, king of the " Scythians." ] Bu' 

has been said in this place on the general history of tl , 

as each country will have a particular account. 

22. We must now return to the point whence we digressed. 
Herodotus hayingobserved that there-could be no such people 
as ^HypejjjQiean s, inasmuch as there were no Hypernotii, 2 
Eratosthenes calls this argument ridiculous, and compares 
it to the sophisnf, that" there are no epichserekaki, 3 inasmuch 
as there are no epichaeragathi ; 4 [adding] perhaps there are 
Hypernotii ; since at all events in Ethiopia Notus does not 
blow, although lower down it does. 

It would indeed be strange, since winds blow under every 
latitude, and especially the southern wind called Notus, if any 
region could be found where this latter was not felt. On 
the contrary, not only does Ethiopia experience our Notus, 
but also the whole country which lies above as far as the 
equator. 5 

If Herodotus must be blamed at all, it is for supposing that 
the Hyperboreans were so named in consequence of Boreas, or 
the north wind, not blowing upon them. The poets are allowed 
much licence in their modes of expression ; but their com- 
mentators, who endeavour always to give us the correct view, 
tell us that the people who dwelt in the extreme north, were 
styled Hyperboreans. The pole is the boundary of the northern 

1 The text of Kramer follows most MSS. in reading " Kimmerians," 
but he points it out as a manifest error ; and refers to Herodotus i. 103. 

2 By Hyperboreans are meant people who dwelt beyond the point from 
whence the north wind proceeded : Hypernotii therefore should be those 
who lived beyond the point of the procession of the south wind. The 
remark of Herodotus will be found, lib. iv. 36. It is simply this : Sup- 
posing Hyperboreans, there ought likewise to be Hypernotii. 

3 Those who exult over the misfortunes of their neighbours. 

4 Those who rejoice in others' prosperity. 

5 Gosselin observes, that what Strabo here says, is in accordance with 
the geographical system of the ancients, who supposed that Africa did 
not extend as far as the equator. As they distinguished the continent 
situated in the northern from a continent which they believed to exist 
in the southern hemisphere, and which they styled the Antichthones, 
they called the wind, blowing from the neighbourhood of the equator, 
in the direction of the two poles, a south wind for either hemisphere. 
For example, if sailors should be brought to the equator by a north 
wind, and that same wind should continue to waft them on their course 
after having passed the line, it would no longer be called a north, but a 
south wind. 

VOL. i. ii 


winds, and the equator of the southern ; these winds have no 
other limit. 

23. Eratosthenes next finds fault with the writers who fill 
their narrative with stories evidently feigned and impossible ; 
some as mere fable, but others as history, which did not de- 
serve mention. In the discussion of a subject like his, he 
should not have wasted his time about such trifles. Such is 
the way in which this writer completes the First Book of his 


1. IN his Second Book Eratosthenes endeavours to correct 
some errors in geography, and offers his own views on the 
subject, any mistakes in which we shall endeavour in our turn 
to set right. He is correct in saying that the inductions of 
mathematics and natural philosophy should be employed, and 

t thatif^the earth is spheroidal like_the u ni verse, it is inhabited 

^* mall j>arts ; together with some other things of this nature. 

Later writers do not agree with him as to the size of the 

earth, 1 nor admit his measurement. However Hipparchus, 

when noting the cj]^sjial^rjD^aj^ances for each particular lo- 

/ cality, adoptsjiis admeasurements, saying thaTtHose~fa^eri for 
tTip: rnfirufinn of Mprn^ 2 Alftyapdria. and the Dnieper, dif- 
fer but very slightly from the truth. JEratosthenes then en- 
ters into a long discussion concerning the figure of the globe, 
proving that the form of the earth together with the water is 

/ -^spheroidal, as jls^_jhej^eaf!ns. ^This however we imagine 

^*~ was foreign to his purpose, and should have been disposed of 
in the compass of a few words. 

2. After this he proceeds to determine the breadth of the 
habitable earth : he tells us, that measuring from the meridian 
of Meroe 3 to Alexandria, there are 10,000 stadia. 

1 According to Gosselin, this does not allude to the size of the whole 
earth, but merely that part of it which, according to the theory of the 
ancients, was alone, habitable. 

- Most probably Gherri in Sennaar. 

3 Eratosthenes supposed that Meroe, Alexandria, the Hellespont, and 

CHAP. iv. 3, 4. INTRODUCTION. 99 

From thence to the Hellespont 1 about 8100. Again; 
from thence to the Dnieper, 50l)0 ; and thence to the parallel 
of Thule, 2 which Pytheas says is six (jays' sail north from 
Britain, and near the Frozen Sea, other 11,500. To"whlch 
iFw-e add 3400 stadia a5ove~T5Teroe in order to include the 
Island of the Egyptians, 3 the Cinnamon country, and Tapro- 
bane, 4 there will be in all 38,000 stadia. 

3. We will let pass the rest of his distances, since they are 
something near, but that the Dnieper is under the same 
parallel as Thule, what man in his senses could ever agree to 
this ? Pytheas, who has given us the history of Thule, is known 
to be a man upon whom no reliance can be placed, and other 
writers who have seen Britain andj^rne, 5 although they tell 
us of many small islaricfsround Britain, make no mention 
whatever of Thule. The length^f Britain itself is nearly the 
saine ^_t]iat_oJ^eltica, 6 opposite to which it extends. Alto- 
gether it is not more than 5000 stadia in length, its outer- 
most points corresponding to those of the opposite continent. 
In fact the extreme points of the two countries lie opposite to 
each other, the eastern extremity to the eastern, and the 
western to the western: the eastern points are situated so 
close as to be within sight of each other^ both at Kent and at 
the mouths oT th^Tthme] But Pytheas tells us that the is- 
land [of Britain] is more than 20,000 stadia in length, and 
that Kent is some days' sail from France. With regard to 
the locality of the Ostimii, and the countries beyond the 
Rhine, 7 as far as Scythia, he is altogether mistaken. The 
veracity of a writer who has been thus false in describing 
countries with which we are well acquainted, should not be 
too much trusted in regard to unknown places. 

4. Further, Hipparchus and many others are of opinion 
that the parallel of latitude of the Dnieper does not differ 

the inoxith of the Borysthenes or Dnieper, were all under the same 

1 The Dardanelles. 2 Iceland. 

3 This Island of the Egyptians is the same which Strabo elsewhere calls 
the Island of the Exiles, because it was inhabited by Egyptians who had 
revolted from Psammeticus, and established themselves in the island. Its 
exact situation is unknown. 

4 Ceylon. 5 Ireland. 

6 France. 7 Between the Rhine and Elbe. 

H 2 


from that of Britain ; since that of Byzantium and Marseilles 
argjhe^arae. The degree of shadowlrom the jgnomon which 
Ptheasstates he oBsSe3La]Haiseilles beineecual 

from that of Britain ; since that of Byzantium and Marseilles 
1 a 


to that which Hipparchus says he fbmid_j.t_Byzantiuni ; the 
periods of observation being in both cases~snmTar7 r Now 
irom Marseilles to the cejitre_gf..^ritain is ^ot~more__than 
5000 stadia ; and if from the centre of Britain we advance 
"norOfnot more than 4000 stadia, we arrive at a temDerature in 
s which it is scarcely fjossible to exist. Such indeed is that of 
^^lerne.^ Consequently the far region in which Eratosthenes 
/ places Thule must be totally uninhabitable. By what guess- 
work he arrived at the conclusion that between the latitude 
of Thule and the Dnieper there was a distance of 11,500 
stadia I am unable to divine. 

5. Eratosthenes being mistaken as to the breadth [of the 
habitable earth], is necessarily wrong as to its length. The 
most accurate observers, both ancient and modern, agree that 
the known length of the habitable earth is more than twice 
its breadth. Its length I take to be^frpm the [eastern] ex- 
tremity of Xpdja 3 to the [westernmost] point of Spain ; 4 and 
its breadth from [the south of] EthiojDia to theTatituae_pf lerne. 
Eratosthenes, as we have said, reckoning its breadth from the 
extremity of Ejhiogia toJThule, was forced to extend its length 
beyond the true limits, that he might make it more than twice 
as long as the breadth he had assigned to it. He says that 
India, measured where it is narrowest, 5 is 16,000 stadia to the 
riyerlndus. If measured from its most prominent capes it 
extenoTSDOO more. 6 Thence to the Caspian Gates, 14,000. 
From the Caspian Gates to the Euphrates, 7 10,000. From 

1 The latitudes of Marseilles and Constantinople differ by 2 16' 21". 
Gosselin enters into a lengthened explanation on this subject, i. 158. 

2 Ireland. 3 The eastern mouth of the Ganges. 
' ' '^CapT'St. Vincent. 

5 In the opinion of Strabo and Eratosthenes, the narrowest portion of 
India was measured by a line running direct from the eastern embouchure 
of the Ganges to the sources of the Indus, that is, the northern side of India 
bounded by the great chain of the Taurus. 

6 Cape Comorin is the farthest point on the eastern coast. Strabo 
probably uses the plural to indicate the capes generally, not confining 
himself to those which project a few leagues farther than the rest. 

7 The Euphrates at Thapsacus, the most frequented passage; hod, 

CHAP. iv. $ 6. INTRODUCTION. 101 

the Euphrates to the Nile, 5000. J Thence to the Cano- 
pic 2 mouth. 1300. From the Canopic mouth to Carthage. 
13,500. From thence to the Pillars at least 8000. Which 
make in all 70,800 stadia. To these [he says] should be add- 
ed the curvature of Europe beyond the Pillars of Hercules, 
fronting the Iberians, and inclining west, not less than 3000 
stadia, and theTTeadlands, including that of the Ostimii, named 
Cabasum, 3 and the adjoining islands, the last of which, named 
Uxisama, 4 is distant, according to Pytheas, a three days' sail. 
But he added nothing to its length by enumerating these last, 
viz. the headlands, including that of the Ostimii, the island of 
Uxisama, and the rest ; they are not situated so as affect the 
length of the earth, for they all lie to the north, and belong to 
Keltica, not to Iberia ; indeed it seems but an invention of 
Pytheas. Lastly, to fall in with the general opinion that the 
breadth ought not 5 to exceed half the length, he adds to the 
stated measure of its length 2000 stadia west, and as many east. 
6. Further, endeavouring to support the opinion that it 
is in accordance with natural philosophy to reckon the great- 
est dimension of the habitable earth from east to west, he 
says that, according to the laws of natural philosophy, the 
habitable earth ought to occupy a greater length from east to 
west, than its breadth from north to south. The temperate 
zone, which we have already designated as the longest zone, 
is that which the mathematicians denominate a continuous 
circle returning upon itself. So that if the extent of the 
Atlantic Ocean were not an obstacle, we might easily pass by 
sea from Iberia to India, 6 still keeping in the same parallel ; 
the remaining portion of which parallel, measured as above 
in stadia, occupies more than a third of the whole circle : 
since the parallel drawn through Athens, 7 on which we have 
taken the distances from India to Iberia, does not contain in 
the whole 200,000 stadia. 

1 The Pelusiac mouth of the Nile, now Thineh or Farameh. 

2 Close by Aboukir. 3 Cape S. Mahe. 4 Ushant. 

* The text has TO irX'tov, but we have followed the suggestions of the 
commentators in reading TO fir/ irXiov. 

6 It is remarkable that this is the same idea which led Columbus to 
the discovery of America, and gave to the islands off that continent the 
name of the West Indies. 

7 We have followed Kramer in reading Si "\Br}vSJv t instead of the ta 
Oiv&r of former editions. 

102 STRABO. 


Here too his reasoning is incorrect. For this speculation 
respecting the temperate zone which wejnhabit. and whereof 
the habitable earth is a part, devolves properly on. those who 
make mathematics their study. But it is not equally the 
province of one treating of the habitable earth. For by this 
term we mean only that portion of the temperate zone where 
we dwell, and with which we are acquainted. But it is quite 
possible that in the temperate zone there may be two or even 
more habitable earths, especially near the circle of latitude 
which is drawn through Athens and the Atlantic Ocean. After 
this he returns to the form of_the earth, which he again 
declares to be sr^heroidal. Here he exhibits the same churl- 
ishness we have previously pointed out, and goes on abusing 
Homer in his old style. He proceeds : 

7. " There has been much argument respecting the conti- 
nents. Some, considering them to be divided by the rivers Nile 
and Tanais, 1 have described them as islands ; while others sup- 
pose itKenTto be peninsulas connected by the isthmuses between 
the Caspian and the Euxine Seas, and between the Erythraean 
Sea 2 and Ecregma." 3 He adds, that this question does not ap- 
pear to him to be of any practical importance, but rather, as 
Democritus observed, a bonej)fj2ojitenj;^^ 
Where there are no preciselxmndary marks, columns, or walls, 
as at Colvjttus and Melite, 4 it is easy for us to say such a place 
is Colyttus, and such another Melite ; but not so easy to show 
the exact limits: thus disputes have frequently arisen con- 
cerning certain districts ; that, for instance, between the 
Argives and Lacedaemonians concerning [the possession of] 
Thyrea, 5 and that between the Athenians and Bo30tians re- 
lative to Oropus. 6 Further, in giving names to the three con- 
tinents, the Greeks did not take into consideration the whole 
habitable eafttlTtmt merely^jtJieinjQffin_country and the land 
exactly opposite, namely, Caria, which is now inhabitecf~Dy 

1 The Nile being thought to separate Africa from Asia, and the Tanais, 

pxDo^Eujiipe^ 2 The Red Sea - 

3~Th"e~~namebf the mouth of the lake Sirbonis or Sebaket-Bardoil, 
which opens into the Mediterranean. A line drawn from this embouch- 
ure to the bottom of the Arabian Gulf, would give the boundary between 
Africa and Asia. 4 Places in Attica. 

5 Probably Thyrqs, a place situated close to the sea, just at the bound 
ary of the two countries. 

6 Oropo, on the confines of Attica and Boeotia. 


the lonians and other neighbouring tribes. In course of time, 
as HleyHdvanced further and daily became acquainted with, 
new countries, this their division came to be general." 

I take this last part first, and (to use Eratosthenes' own 
words, not those of Democritus) willing to pick my bone of con- 
tention, inquire, whether they who first made the division of 
the three continents were the same persons as those who first 
desired to distinguish their own land from that of the Carians 
opposite, or whether they were only acquainted with Greece, 
Caria, and some few other adjoining countries, and not with 
Europe, Asia, or Africa ; but that others who followed them, 
and were able to write a description of the habitable earth, 
were the real authors of the division into three continents. 
How did he know that these were not the men who made this 
division of the habitable earth? And he who divided the 
earth into three parts, giving to each portion the name of 
" continent," could he not form in his mind a just idea of that 
taken as a whole, which he had so parcelled out. But if in- 
deed he were not acquainted with the whole habitable earth, 
but merely made a division of some part thereof, pray what 
portion of that part did he denominate Asia, or Europe, or 
simply continent ? Such talk is altogether nonsense. 

8. The reasoning of Eratosthenes, however, is still more 
absurd, when he declares that he sees no advantage in being 
acquainted with the exact boundaries of countries, and then 
cites the example of Colyttus and Melite, which prove just 
the contrary of his assertion. Surely if a want of certainty 
respecting the boundaries of Thyrea and Oropus gave rise to 
war, a knowledge of the limits of different districts must be 
of practical importance. Will he tell us that the boundaries 
of districts, or the limits of kingdoms, may be of some service, 
but when applied to continents it is carrying the matter too 
far. We reply, it is of equal consequence here. Suppose a 
dispute between two powerful princes, one claiming the posses- 
sion of Asia and the other of Africa, to which of these should 
Egypt, I mean the country called Lower Egypt, appertain. 
Will any one pass over such cases on account of their rarity ? 
By no means. It is acknowledged by every one that the 
limits of each continent ought to be defined by some notable 
boundary, indicated by the configuration of the whole habit- 
able earth. In following out this principle, we should not be 

104 STRABO. BOOK i. 

very particular if they who determine boundaries by the rivers 
leave some districts undefined, since the rivers do not reach 
from sea to sea, nor leave the continents altogether as islands. 
9. At the close of the book Eratosthenes blames the system 
of those who would divide all mankind into Greeks and Bar- 
barians, and likewise those who recommended Alexander to 
treat the Greeks as friends, but the Barbarians as enemies. 1 
He suggests, as a better course, to distinguish them ac- 
cording to their virtues and their vices, " since amongst the 
Greeks there are many worthless characters, andjuanvhighly 
civilized are to be found amongst the Barbarians ; witness the 
Indians ancTArijjai^oT still better the Romans and Carthagi- 
"mans7 whose pqliticaJLs^stem is so beautii'nl|y perfect. Alex- 
fancier, considering this, disregarded the advice which had been 
offered him, and patronized without distinction any man he 
considered to be deserving." But we would inquire whether 
those men who thus divided the human race, abandoning one 
portion to contempt, and exalting to dignity the other, were 
not actuated to this because they found that on one side justice, 
knowledge, and the force of reason reigned supreme, but their 
contraries on the other. Alexander did not disregard the 
advice tendered him, but gladly embraced and followed it, 
respecting the wisdom of those w r ho gave it ; and so far from 
taking the opposite course, he closely pursued that which they 
pointed out. 

1 Aristotle was the giver of this sage counsel. 2 A people of Asia. 



In the Second Book, having proposed for discussion the [opinions] of Era- 
tosthenes, he examines and refutes whatever that writer may have incor- 
rectly said, determined, or laid down. He likewise brings forward many 
statements of Hipparchus, which he disproves, and finishes with a short 
exposition or synopsis of the whole subject, namely, geographical know- 


1. IN the Third Book of his Geography Eratosthenes furnishes 
us with a chart of the habitable earth. This he divides into 
two portions, by a line running from east to west parallel to 
the equator. He makes the Pillars of Hercules the boundary 
of this line to the west, and to the east the farthest ridges of 
those mountains which bound India on the north. From the 
Pillars he draws ihe line through the Strait of Sicily, 1 and the 
southern extremities of Peloponnesus and Attica, tqjlh^des 
and the Gulf of Issus. 2 He says, " Through the whole of this 
distance the line mentioned is drawn across the sea 3 and ad- 
jacent continents ; the whole length of the Mediterranean as 
far_asjCilicia extending in that direction. Thence it runs 
nearly in a straight line along the whjp chain nf the Taurus 
to India. The Taurus continuing in a straight line from the 
"Pillars divides Asia through its whole length into two halves, 
So that both the Taurus and the sea from 

the Pillars hither 4 lie under the parallel of Athens." 

2. He then declares that the ancient geographical chart 
wants revision ; that in it the eastern portion of the Taurus 

1 The Strait of Messina. 

2 The Gulf of Aias. The town of Ai'as has replaced Issus, at the eastern 
extremity of the Mediterranean. 

3 The Mediterranean. 

4 That is, the Mediterranean on the coast of Syria. 

106 STRABO. BOOK n. 

is made to run too far north, India itself being also too much 
drawn in the same direction. One proof which he offers in 
support of this is, that the most southern extremities of India- 
are under the same latitude as Mejro"e7^as~attested by many, 
both from astrono^icaT~observations and the temjp_erature of 
the climate. From thence to the most northerly point by the 
mountains of the Caucasus, 1 there are 15,000 stadia, accord- 
ing to Patrocles, a writer whom we are bound to believe, both 
on account of his worth, and the vast amount of his geogra- 
phical attainments. Now since the distance from Meroe to 
the parallel of Athens is nearly the same, the most northerly 
points of India next to the Caucasian mountains ought to be 
under the same degree of latitude. 

3. But there is another method (says Eratosthenes) of 
proving this. The distance from the Gulf of Issus to the 
Euxine, proceeding in a northerly direction towards Amisus 2 
and Sinope, 3 is about 3000 stadia, which is as much as the 
supposed extent of the mountains [of the Taurus]. 4 The tra- 
veller who directs his course from Amisus due east, 5 arrives 
first at Colchis, then at the high lands by the Hyrcanian 
Sea, 6 afterwards at the road leading to Bactra, 7 and beyond to 
the Scythians; having the mountains always on the right. 
The same line drawn through Amisus westward, crosses the 
Propontis and Hellespont. From Meroe to the Hellespont 
there are not more than 18,000 stadia. 8 The distance is just 
the same from the southern extremity of India to the land of 
Bactria, if we add to the 15,000 stadia of that country the 
3000 which its mountains occupy in breadth. 

4. Hipparchus tries to invalidate this view of Eratosthenes, 
by sneering at the proofs on which it rests. Patrocles, he 
says, merits little credit, being contradicted by the two writers 

1 Strabo does not here mean the Caucasus or Balkan, but the moun- 
tains which stretch from Persia to Cochin China. At a later period the 
several chains were known to the Greeks by the names of Paropamisus, 
Emodi Montes, Imaiis, &c. 

2 Samsun. 3 Sinub. 

4 The great chain of the Taurus was supposed to occupy the whole 
breadth of Asia Minor, a space of 3000 stadia. Eratosthenes is here at- 
tempting to prove that these mountains occupy a like space in the north 
of India. 

5 Lit. to the equinoctial rising. 6 Another designation of the Caspian. 
7 Balk. 8 Read 18,100 stadia. 

CHAP. i. 5, 6. INTRODUCTION. 107 

Deimachus and Megasthenes, who say that the distance 1 
taken from the southern ocean, is in some places 20,000, in 
others 30,000 stadia ; that in this assertion they are supported 
by the ancient charts, and he considers it absurd to require 
us to put implicit faith in Patrocles alone, when there is so 
much testimony against him ; or that the ancient charts should 
be corrected ; but rather that they should be left as they are 
until we have something more certain on the subject. 

5. This argument, I think, is in many instances unfounded. 
Eratosthenes availed himself of the statements of many 
writers, although Hipparchus alleges he was solely led by 
Patrocles. Who then are the authors of the statement that 
the southern extremity of India is under the same parallel 
as Meroe ; and who are they who estimate 2 the distance from 
Meroe to the parallel passing through Athens ? Or who, again, 
were those who asserted that the whole breadth occupied by 
the mountains 3 was equal to the distance from Cilicia to 
Amisus ? Or who made known that, travelling from Amisus, 
the course lay in a straight line due east through Colchis, the 
[sea of] Hyrcania, so on to Bactria, and beyond this to the 
eastern ocean, 4 the mountains being always on the right hand ; 
and that this same line carried west in a straight line, tra- 
verses the Propontis and the Hellespont ? These things Era- 
tosthenes advances on the testimony of men who had been on 
the spot, and from the study of those numerous memoirs which 
he had for reference in that noble library 5 which Hipparchus 
himself acknowledges to be gigantic. 

6. Besides, the credibility of Patrocles can be proved by a 
variety of evidence the princes 6 who confided to him so im- 
portant trusts the authors who follow his statements and 
those, too, who criticise them, whose names Hipparchus has 
recorded. Since whenever these are refuted, the credit of 
Patrocles is by so much advanced. Nor does Patrocles ap- 
pear to state any thing improbable when he says that the army 

1 i. e. The breadth of India. 

2 Literally, " estimate at so much," referring to the estimate at the 
conclusion of 2. 

3 Caucasus, in the north of India. 

4 By the term t'y'a fldXarra, rendered " eastern ocean," we must 
understand Strabo to mean the Bay of Bengal. 

5 The Alexandrian. 

6 Seleucus Nicator and Antiochus Soter. 

108 STRABO. BOOK n. 

of Alexander took but a very hasty view of every thing [in 
India], but Alexander himself a more exact one, causing the 
whole country to be described by men well acquainted with 
it. Which description he says was afterwards put into his 
hands by Xenocles the treasurer. 

7. Again, in the second volume of his Commentaries, Hip- 
parchus accuses Eratosthenes of himself throwing discredit on 
the statement of Patrocles, on account of his differing with Me- 
gasthenes, as to the length of India on its northern side ; 1 Me- 
gasthenes stating the length at 16,000 stadia, and Patrocles 
at 1000 less. Being biassed by a certain Itinerary, Eratos- 
thenes was led to reject. them both on account of this discre- 
pancy, and to follow the Itinerary. If then merely the differ- 
ence of 1000 stadia is sufficient to cause the authority of 
Patrocles to be rejected, how much more should this be the 
case when we find a difference of 8000 stadia between his 
statement and that of two writers who agree perfectly in 
theirs, that the breadth of India is 20,000 stadia, while he 
gives only 12,000 ! 

8. We reply, that [Eratosthenes] did not object [to the 
statement of Patrocles] merely because it differed [from that 
of Megasthenes], but because the statement of this latter as to 
the stadia was confirmed by the Itinerary, an authority of no 
mean importance. There is nothing wonderful in this, that 
though a certain statement may be credible, another may be 
more credible ; and that while in some instances we follow the 
former, in others we may dissent from it on finding a more 
trust-worthy guide. It is ridiculous to say that the greater 
the difference of one writer from others, the less he should be 
trusted. On the contrary, such a rule would be more applica- 
ble in regard to small differences ; for in little particulars 
the ordinary observer and the man of great ability are equally 
liable to err. On the other hand, in great matters, the ordi- 
nary run of men are more like to be deceived than the man 
of superior talent, to whom consequently in such cases greater 
deference is paid. 

9. Generally speaking, the men who hitherto have written 
on the affairs of India, were a set of liars. Deimachus holds 
the first place in the list, Megasthenes comes next, while 

1 The length of India is its measurement from -west to east. 

CHAP. i. $ 10, 11. INTRODUCTION. 109 

Onesicritus and Nearchus, with others of the same class, 
manage to stammer out a few words [of truth]. Of this we 
became the more convinced whilst writing the history of 
Alexander. No faith whatever can be placed in Deimachus 
and Megasthenes. They coined the fables concerning men 
with ears large enough to sleep in, men without any mouths, 
without noses, with only one eye, with spider-legs, and with 
fingers bent backward. They renewed Homer's fable con- 
cerning the battles of the Cranes and Pygmies, and asserted 
the latter to be three spans high. They told of ants digging 
for gold, of Pans with wedge-shaped heads, of serpents swal- 
lowing down oxen and stags, horns and all; meantime, as 
Eratosthenes has observed, reciprocally accusing each other 
of falsehood. Both of these men were sent ambassadors to 
Palimbothra, 1 Megasthenes to Sandrocottus, Deimachus to 
Allitrochades his son ; and such are the notes of their residence 
abroad, which, I know not why, they thought fit to leave. 
Patrocles certainly does not resemble them ; nor do any other 
of the authorities consulted by Eratosthenes contain such 

10. 2 If the meridian of__Rhodes and Byzantium has 
been rightly determined to be the same, then that of Cili- 
cia and Amisus has likewise been rightly determined ; many 
observation^ having proved that the lines are parallel, and 
that they never impinge on each other. 

11. In like manner, that the voyage from Amisus to 
Colchis, and the route to the Caspian, and thence on to 
Bactra, are both due east, is proved by the winds, the sea- 
sons, the fruits, and even the sun-risings. Frequently evi- 
dence such as this, and general agreement, are more to be 
relied on than the measurement taken by means of instru- 
ments. Hipparchus himself was not wholly indebted to 
instruments and geometrical calculations for his statement 
that the Pillars and Cilicia lie in a direct line due east. For 

1 Not Allahabad, as supposed by D'Anville, but Patelputer, or Patali- 
putra, near Patna. 

2 There would seem to be some omission here, although none of the 
MSS. have any blank space left to indicate it. Groskurd has been at con- 
siderable pains to supply what he thinks requisite to complete the sense, 
but in a matter so doubtful we deemed it a surer course to follow the 
Greek text as it stands. 


that part of it included between the Pillars and the Strait of 
Sicily he rests entirely on the assertion of sailors. It is 
therefore incorrect to say that, because we cannot exactly 
determine the duration of the longest and shortest days, nor 
the degree of shadow of the gnomon throughout the moun- 
tainous region between Cilicia and India, that therefore we 
are unable to decide whether the line traced obliquely on 
the ancient charts should or should not be parallel, and 
consequently must leave it unreformed, keeping it oblique 
as the ancient charts have it. For in the first place, not 
to determine any thing is to leave it undetermined; and 
to leave a thing undetermined, is neither to take one view 
of the matter nor the other : but to agree to leave it as 
the ancients have, that is to take a view of the case. It 
would have been more consistent with his reasoning, if he 
had told us to leave Geography alone altogether, since we 
are similarly unable to determine the position of the Alps, 
the Pyrenees, and the mountains of Thrace, 1 Illyria, 2 and 
Germany. Wherefore should we give more credit to the 
ancient writers than to the modern, when we call to mind 
the numerous errors of their charts which have been pointed 
out by Eratosthenes, and which Hipparchus has not attempted 
to defend. 

12. But the system of Hipparchus altogether teems with dif- 
ficulties. Reflect for an instant on the following absurdity ; after 
admitting that the southern extremity of India is under the 
same degree of latitude as Meroe, and that the distance from 
Meroe to the Strait of Byzantium is about 18,000 3 stadia, 
he then makes the distance from the southern extremity of 
India to the mountains 30,000 stadia. Since Byzantium 
and Marseilles are under the same parallel of latitude, as 
Hipparchus tells us they are, on the authority of Pytheas, 
and since Byzantium and the Dnieper 4 have also the same 
meridian, as Hipparchus equally assures us, if we take his 
assertion that there is a distance of 3700 5 stadia between 
Byzantium and the Dnieper, there will of course be a 
like difference between the latitude of Marseilles and the 

1 Thrace, now Roumelia. 

- The situation of Illyria was on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Venice. 

3 Read 18,100 stadia. 4 The mouth of the Dnieper. 

5 Hipparchus stated 3800 stadia, not 3700. 

CHAP. i. 13, 14. INTRODUCTION. 1 1 1 

Dnieper. This would make the latitude of the Dnieper 
identical with that of Keltica next the Ocean ; for on pro- 
ceeding 3700 stadia [north of Marseilles], we reach the 
ocean. 1 

13. Again, we know that the Cinnamon Country is the 
most southerly point of the habitable earth. According to 
Hipparchus's own statement, the latitude of this country, 
which marks the commencement of the temperate zone, and 
likewise of the habitable earth, is distant from the equator 
about 8800 stadia. 2 And since he likewise says that from 
the equator to the parallel of the Dnieper there are 34,000 
stadia, there will remain a distance of 25,200 stadia be- 
tween the parallel of the Dnieper (which is the same as 
that which passes over the side of Keltica next the Ocean) 
to that which separates the torrid from the temperate zone. 
It is said that the farthest voyages now made north of Keltica 
are to lerne, 3 which lies beyond Britain, and, on account of 
its extreme cold, barely sustains life ; beyond this it is thought 
to be uninhabitable. Now the distance between Keltica and 
lerne is estimated at not more than 5000 stadia ; so that on 
this view they must have estimated the whole breadth of the 
habitable earth at 30,000 stadia, or just above. 

14. Let us then transport ourselves to the land opposite the 
Cinnamon Country, and lying to the east under the same 
parallel of latitude ; we shall there find the country named 
Taprobane. 4 This Taprobane is universally believed to be a 
large island situated in the high seas, and lying to the south 
opposite India. Its length in the direction of Ethiopia is above 
5000 stadia, as they say. There are brought from thence to 
the Indian markets, ivory, tortoise-shells, and other wares in 
large quantities. Now if this island is broad in proportion to 

1 Gosselin remarks that these 3700, or rather 3800 stadia, on proceed- 
ing from Marseilles, would reach the latitude of Paris, and that of the 
coasts in the neighbourhood of Treguier. Eratosthenes and Hipparchus 
were out but 14' and some seconds in their calculation of the latitude of 
Marseilles; but Strabo's error touching the same amounted to 3 43' 28"; 
he consequently fixed the northern coasts of France at 45 17' 18'', which 
is about the latitude of the mouth of the Garonne. 

2 These 8800 stadia, at 700 to a degree, amount to 12 34' 17" of lati- 
tude. This would be about the middle of Abyssinia. 

3 Ireland. * The island of Ceylon. 


its length, we cannot suppose that the whole distance, 1 inclu- 
sive of the space which separates it from India, is less than 
3000 stadia, which is equal to the distance of the [southern] 
extremity of the habitable earth from Meroe, since the 
[southern] extremities of India and Meroe are under the same 
parallel. It is likely there are more than 3000 stadia, 2 but 
taking this number, if we add thereto the 30,000 stadia, which 
Deimachus states there are between [the southern extremity 
of India] and the country of the Bactrians and Sogdians, we 
shall find both of these nations lie beyond the temperate zone 
and habitable earth. 3 Who will venture to affirm such to be 
the case, hearing, as they must, the statement made both by 
ancients and moderns of the genial climate and fertility of 
northern India, Hyrcania, Aria, Margiana, 4 and Bactriana 
also ? These countries are all equally close to the northern 
side of the Taurus, Bactriana being contiguous to that part 
of the chain 5 which forms the boundary of India. A country 
blessed with such advantages must be very far from uninha- 
bitable. It is said that in Hyrcania each vine produces a 
metrete 6 of wine, and each fig tree 60 medimni 7 of fruit. That 
the grains of wheat which fall from the husk on to the earth 
spring up the year following ; that bee-hives are in the trees, 
and the leaves flow with honey. The same may be met 
with in the part of Media called Matiana, 8 and also in Saca- 

1 Viz. between its southern extremity and that of India. 

2 Strabo and Eratosthenes supposed the extremity of India farther 
south than Meroe; Hipparchus fixes it a little north of that city, at a 
distance of 12,600 stadia from the equator. 

3 These 30,000 stadia, added to the 12,600 of the preceding note, would 
place Bactria under 60 51' 26" north latitude, which is more than 24 
degrees too far north. 

* Both Aria and Margiana are in the present Khorasan. 

5 This portion of the Taurus is called by the Indians Hindou Kho. 

6 This was the principal Greek liquid measure, and was 3-4ths of the 
medimnus, the chief dry measure. The Attic metretes was half as large 
again as the Roman Amphora quadrantal, and contained a little less than 
7 gallons. Smith. 

7 The medimnus contained nearly 12 imperial gallons, or If bushel. 
This was the Attic medimnus ; the JEginetan and Ptolemaic was half as 
much again, or in the ratio of 3 : 2 to the Attic. Smith. 

8 Matiana was a province of Media on the frontiers of the present 
Kurdistan ; Sacasena, a country of Armenia on the confines of Albania 
or Sehirvan ; Araxena, a province traversed by the river Araxes. 

CHA.P. i. 15, 16. INTRODUCTION. 113 

sena and Araxena, countries of Armenia. In these three it 
is not so much to be wondered at, since they lie more to the 
south than Hyrcania, and surpass the rest of the country in 
the beauty of their climate ; but in Hyrcania it is more re- 
markable. It is said that in Margiana you may frequently 
meet with a vine whose stock would require two men with 
outstretched arms to clasp it, and clusters of grapes two cubits 
long. Aria is described as similarly fertile, the wine being 
still richer, and keeping perfectly for three generations in 
unpitched casks. Bactviana, which adjoins Aria, abounds in 
the same productions, if we except olives. 

15. That there are cold regions in the high and mountainpus 

Erts of these countries is not to be wondered at ; since in the 
lore] southern climates the mountains, and even the table- 
ids, are cold. The districts next the Euxine, in Cappadocia, 
are much farther north than those adjoining the Taurus. 
Bagadania, a vast plain, situated between the mountains of 
Argaeus l and Taurus, hardly produces any fruit trees, although 
south of the Euxine Sea by 3000 stadia ; while the territory 
round Sinope, 2 Amisus, 3 and Phanarrea abounds in olives. 

The Oxus, 4 which divides Bactriana from Sogdiana, is said 
to be of such easy navigation that the wares of India are 
brought up it into the sea of Hyrcania, 5 and thence successively 
by various other rivers to the districts near the Euxine. 6 

16. Can one find any fertility to compare with this near 
to the Dnieper, or that part of Keltica next the ocean, 7 where 
the vine either does not grow at all, or attains no maturity. 8 
However, in the more southerly portions of these districts, 9 

1 Mount Argaeus still preserves the name of Ardgeh. The part of the 
Taurus here alluded to is called Ardoxt Dag. 2 Sinub. 

3 Samsoun. * The Gihon of the oriental writers. 5 The Caspian. 

6 Gosselin says, the Oxus, or Abi-amu, which now discharges itself into 
Lake Aral, anciently communicated with the Caspian. The vessels car- 
rying Indian merchandise used to come down the Oxus into the Caspian ; 
they then steered along the southern coasts till they reached the mouth 
of the Cyrus ; up this river they sailed to the sources of the Phasis, (the 
Fasch,) and so descended into the Black Sea and Mediterranean. About 
the middle of the 17th century the Russians endeavoured to re-open this 
ancient route, but this effort was unsuccessful. 

7 The north of France. 

8 At the time of Strabo France was covered with forests and stagnant 
water, which rendered its temperature damp and cold. It was not until 
after considerable drainage about the fourth century that the vine began 
to attain any perfection. 9 The Crimea. 



close to the sea, and those next the Bosphorus, 1 the vine brings 
its fruit to maturity, although the grapes are exceedingly- 
small, and the vines are covered up all the winter. And in 
the parts near the mouth of the Palus Mseotis, the frost is so 
strong that a general of Mithridates defeated the barbarians 
here in a cavalry engagement during the winter, and on the 
very same spot in a naval fight in summer, when the ice 
was thawed. Eratosthenes furnishes us with the following 
inscription, which he found in the temple of JEsculapius at 
Panticapaseon, 2 on a brazen vase which had been broken by 
the frost : 

'.' If any one doubts the intensity of our winter's cold, let 
him believe when he sees this vase. The priest Stratius 
placed it here, not because he considered it a worthy offering 
to the god, but as a proof of the severity of our winter." 

Since therefore the provinces we have just enumerated 
[are so superior in climate, that they] cannot be compared 
with the countries surrounding the Bosphorus, nor even the 
regions of Amisus and Sinope, (for every one will admit that 
they are much superior to these latter,) it would be idle to 
compare them with the districts near the Borysthenes and 
the north of Keltica ; for we have shown that their tem- 
perature is not so low as Amisus, Sinope, Byzantium, and 
Marseilles, which are universally acknowledged to be 3700 
stadia south of the Dnieper and Keltica. 

17. If the followers of Deiraachus add to the 30.000 sta- 
dia the distance to Taprobanc and the boundaries of the 
torrid zone, which cannot be reckoned less than 4000 stadia, 3 
they will then remove Bactria and Aria from their actual 
localities and place them 34,000 stadia from the torrid zone, 
a distance equal to that which Hipparchus states to be be- 
tween the equator and [the mouth of] the Dnieper, and 
the two countries will therefore be removed 8800 stadia 
north of [the mouth of] the Dnieper and Keltica ; for 
there are reckoned to be 8800 stadia from the equator to the 
parallel of latitude which separates the temperate from the tor- 

1 The Strait of Zabache. 2 Kertsch in the Crimea. 

3 Strabo is too fond of this kind of special pleading : before, in order to 
controvert Hipparchus, he estimated this distance at 3000 stadia; now he 
adds an additional thousand stadia in order to get a latitude which shall 
be the southern limit of the habitable earth. 


rid zone, and which crosses the Cinnamon Country. 1 We have 
proved that the regions not more than 5000 stadia north of 
Keltica, as fur as lerne, 2 are scarcely habitable, but their rea- 
soning leads to the conclusion that there is another circle fitted 
for the habitation of man, although 3800 stadia north of lerne. 3 
And that Bactra is still farther north than the mouth of the 
Caspian or Hyrcanian Sea, which is distant about 6000 stadia 
from the recess of the Caspian and the mountains of Armenia 
and Media, and which appears to be the most northerly point 
of the whole coast as far as India, with a sea navigable to 
India all the way, as Patrocles, who had the government of 
these regions, affirms. Now Bactriana stretches 1000 stadia 
farther north. Beyond this the Scythians occupy a much 
larger territory, bounded by the Northern Ocean : here they 
dwell, though to be sure theirs is a nomade life. But we ask 
how they could exist here at all, supposing even Bactra to be 
beyond the limits of the habitable globe. The distance from 
the Caucasus to the Northern Sea through Bactra would be 

1 The Greek has Kiva/iw/to^opov 'ivdiKijg. We have omitted the lat- 
ter word altogether from the translation, as being a slip of the pen. 
Strabo certainly never supposed the Cinnamon Country to be any where in 
India. 2 Ireland. 

3 Perhaps it may aid the reader in realizing these different reasonings 
if we give a summary of them in figures. 

Strabo supposes that Hipparchus, reckoning from the 
equator to the limits of the inhabited earth, . . 8,800 stadia 

should have fixed the southern extremity of India more 
to the north by ........ 4,000 

and the northern extremity of India, according to the 
measures of Deimachus, still more to the north by . . 30,000 

Total 42,800 

Now, Strabo adds, following Hipparchus, the northern 
shores of Keltica and the mouth of the Dnieper, are 
distant from the equator ....... 34,000 

lerne, in a climate almost uninhabitable, was, according to 
Strabo's own impression, situated to the north of Keltica . 5,000 


Then, according to Hipparchus, the habitable latitudes 
would extend still farther than lerne by . . . 3,800 

Total 42,800 

The great fertility of Bactriana, according to Strabo, appeared to be in- 
consistent with a position so far towards the north. In this he was 

i 2 


e than 4000 stadia. 1 This being added to the 
? stadia north of lerne 3 above-mentioned, will give 
us the whole amount of uninhabitable land from lerne north- 
ward 7800 stadia, and even omitting the 4000 stadia alto- 
gether, those parts of Bactriana next the Caucasus will still 
be 3800 stadia farther north than lerne, and 8800 farther 
north than Keltica, 4 and [the mouth] of the Dnieper. 

18. Hipparchus narrates that at the Dnieper and [the 
north of] Keltica, during the whole of the summer nights there 
is one continued twilight from sun-set to sun-rise, but at the 
winter solstice the sun never rises more than njjie cujriis above 
the horizon. 5 He adds that this phenomenon is yet more re- 
markable in regions 6300 6 stadia north of Marseilles, (these 
regions he supposes to be peopled by~Kelts, but I believe are 
inhabited by Britons, and 2$00 stadia north of Keltica,) where 
the sun at the winter solstice 7 rises only six cubits above the 
horizon. That at 9100 8 stadia north of Marseilles it only rises 
four cubits, and not so much as three in the countries beyond, 
and which I consider much farther north than le^rne. 9 How- 
ever, Hipparchus, on the authority of Pytheas, peaces them 
south of Britain, and says that the longest day there consists 
only of 19 hours ; 10 while in countries where the sun rises but 
four cubits above the horizon, and which are situated 9100 11 

1 These 4000 stadia do not accord with the distances elsewhere pro- 
pounded by Strabo. Possibly he had before him various charts con- 
structed on different hypotheses, and made his computations not always 
from the same. 

2 Viz. 3800. 3 Ireland. 4 France. 

5 The astronomical cubit of the ancients equalled 2 degrees. It there- 
fore follows that in the regions alluded to by Hipparchus, the sun at the 
winter solstice rose no higher than 18 degrees above the horizon. This 
would give a latitude of a little above 48 degrees. We afterwards find that 
Hipparchus placed the mouth of the Dnieper, and that part of France 
here alluded to. under 48 29' 19", and we know that at this latitude, which 
is only 20' 56" different from that of Paris, there is no real night during 
the longest days of the summer. 6 Read 7700. 

7 Lit., during the winter days, but the winter solstice is evidently 

' 8 Read about 10,500. This correction is borne out by the astronomical 
indications added by Hipparchus. 

9 Strabo supposed the latitude of Ireland to be 52 25' 42". Countries 
north of this he considered to be altogether uninhabitable on account of 
their inclemency. 

10 Equinoctial hours. " Read 10,500, as above. 

CHAP. i. $ 19. INTRODUCTION. 117 

stadia north of Marseilles, the day has 18 hours. Conse- 
quently [according to his hypothesis] the most southerly parts 
of Britain must be north of these regions. They must therefore 
be under the same parallel, or almost the same, as the parts of 
Bactriana next to the Caucasus, which I have shown are, ac- 
cording to the followers of Deimachus, 3800 stadia farther 
north than lerne. 1 Now if we add this to the number be- 
tween Marseilles and lerne, we shall get 12,500 stadia. But 
who ever made known to us that, in those parts, I mean, in 
the vicinity of Bactra, this was the duration of the longest 
day, or the height which the sun attains in the meridian at the 
winter solstice ? All these things are patent to the eyes of 
every man, and require no mathematical investigation ; there- 
fore they certainly would have been mentioned by numerous 
writers both amongst the ancients who have left us histories 
of Persia, and by the later writers too, who have carried them 
down to our own time. How, too, would their fertility, 
which I have described above, harmonize with such a lati- 
tude ? The facts here advanced are sufficient to give an 
idea of the learned manner in which Hipparchus attempts to 
controvert the reasoning of Eratosthenes by mere petitiones 

19. Again, Eratosthenes wished to show the ignorance of 
Deimachus, and his want of information concerning such mat- 
ters, as proved by his assertion that India lies between the 
autumnal equinox 2 and winter tropic. 3 Also in his blaming 
Megasthenes, where he says that in the southern parts of India 
the Greater and Lesser Bear are seen to set, and the shadows 

1 Ireland. 2 The equinoctial line. 

3 There is no doubt that the expressions which Deimachus appears to 
have used were correct. It seems that he wished to show that beyond 
the Indus the coasts of India, instead of running in a direction almost due 
east, as the Greeks imagined they did, sloped in a direction between the 
south and the north-east, which is correct enough. As Deimachus had 
resided at Palibothra, he had had an opportunity of obtaining more exact 
information relative to the form of India than that which was current at 
Alexandria. This seems the more certain, as Megasthenes, who had also 
lived at Palibothra, stated that by measuring India from the Caucasus to the 
southern extremity of the continent, you would obtain, not its length, as 
the Greeks imagined, but its breadth. These correct accounts were ob- 
stinately rejected by the speculative geographers of Alexandria, because 
they imagined a certain uninhabitable zone, into which India ought not to 

118 STRABO. BOOK ii. 

to fall both ways ; assuring us that such is not the case in 
India. 1 These assertions, says Eratosthenes, arise from the 
ignorance of Deimachus. For it is nothing else than ignor- 
ance to suppose that the autumnal equinox is not equally 
distant from the tropics with the vernal ; since in both 
equinoxes the sun rises at the same point, and performs a si- 
milar revolution. Further, [he continues,] the distance from 
the terrestrial tropic to the equator, between which, according 
to Deimachus himself, India is situated, has been proved by 
measurement to be much less than 20,000 stadia, consequently 
his own statements prove that my assertion is correct, and not 
his. For supposing India to be twenty or thirty thousand 
stadia [in breadth] it could not be contained in the given 
space, but if my estimate be taken it is simple enough. It 
is another evidence of his want of information, to say that the 
two Bears are not seen to set, or the shadows to fall both ways, 
in any part of India, since 5000 stadia south of Alexandria 2 
both of these phenomena are observable. Thus reasons Eratos- 
thenes ; whom Hipparchus again criticises in the same mis- 
taken way. First he substitutes [in the text of Deimachus] 
the summer in place of the winter tropic ; then he says that 
the evidence of a man ignorant of astronomy ought not to be 
received in a mathematical question ; as if Eratosthenes in the 
main had actually been guided by the authority of Dei- 
machus. Could he not see that Eratosthenes had followed 

1 The truth of these facts depends on the locality where the observa- 
tions are made. In the time of Alexander the most southern of the seven 
principal stars which compose the Greater Bear had a declination of 
about 61 degrees, so that for all latitudes above 29 degrees, the Wain 
never set. Consequently if Deimachus were speaking of the aspect of 
the heavens as seen from the northern provinces of India, the Punjaub 
for instance, there was truth in his assertion, that the two Bears were 
never seen to set there, nor the shadows to fall in contrary directions. 
On the other hand, as Megasthenes appears to be-speaking of the south of 
India, that is, of the peninsula situated entirely south of the tropic, it is 
certain that he was right in saying that the shadows cast by the sun fell 
sometimes towards the north, at others towards the south, and that ac- 
cordingly, as we proceeded towards the south, the Bears would be seen 
to set. The whole of Ursa Major at that time set at 29 degrees, and our 
present polar star at 13 degrees. (3 of the Lesser Bear was at that time 
the most northern of the seven principal stars of that constellation, and 
set at 8 45'. So that both Bears entirely disappeared beneath the ho- 
rizon of Cape Comorin. 

2 This would be at Syene under the tropic. 


the general custom in regard to idle reasoners, one means of 
refuting whom is to show that their arguments, whatever 
they may be, go only to confirm our views. 

20. It is by assuming as a fact that the southern extremity 
of India is under the same parallel as Meroe, a thing affirmed 
and believed by most writers, that we shall be best able to 
show the absurdities of the system of Hipparchus. In the first 
book of his Commentaries he does not object to this hypothe- 
sis, but in the second book he no longer admits it ; we must 
examine his reasons for this. He says, " when two countries 
are situated under the same parallel, but separated by a great 
distance, you cannot be certain that they are exactly under the 
same parallel, unless the climata * of both the places are found 
to be similar. Now Philo, in his account of a voyage by sea 
to Ethiopia, has given us the clima of Meroe. He says that at 
that place the sun is vertical forty-five days before the sum- 
mer solstice, 2 he also informs us of the proportion of shadow 
thrown by the gnomon both at the equinoxes and solstices. 
Eratosthenes agrees almost exactly with Philo. But not a 
single writer, not even Eratosthenes, has informed us of the 
clima of India ; but if it is the case, as many are inclined to 
believe on the authority of Nearchus, 3 that the two Bears 
are seen to set in that country, then certainly Meroe and 
the southern extremity of India cannot be under the same 
parallel." 4 [Such is the reasoning of Hipparchus, but we 
reply,] If Eratosthenes confirms the statement of those authors 

1 Small zones parallel to the equator ; they were placed at such a dis- 
tance from each other, that there might be half an hour's difference be- 
tween each on the longest day of summer. So by taking an observ- 
ation on the longest day, you could determine the clima and consequently 
the position of a place. This was equivalent to observing the elevation 
of the pole. At the end of this second book Strabo enters into a long 
description of the climata. 

2 This observation, taken at the time of Hipparchus, would indicate a 
latitude of 16 48' 34." 

3 Nearchus in speaking of the southern extremity of India, near Cape 
Comorin, was correct in the assertion that in his time the two Bears 
were there seen to set. 

4 Hipparchus fixed the latitude of Meroe at 16 51' 25", and the ex- 
tremity of India at 18. In the time of Alexander, the Lesser Bear was 
not observed to set for either of these latitudes. Strabo therefore drew 
the conclusion, that if Hipparchus had adopted the opinion of Nearchus, 
he would have fixed the extremity of India south of Meroe, instead of 
north of that city. 

120 STRABO. 


who tell us that in India the two Bears are observed to set, 
how can it be said that not a single person, not even Eratos- 
thenes, has informed us of any thing concerning the clima of 
India? This is itself information on that point. If, how- 
ever, he has not confirmed this statement, let him be exoner- 
ated from the error. Certain it is he never did confirm the 
statement. Only when Deimachus affirmed that there was no 
place in India from which the two Bears might be seen to set, 
or the shadows fall both ways, as Megasthenes had asserted, 
Eratosthenes thereupon taxed him with ignorance, regard- 
ing as absolutely false this two-fold assertion, one half of 
which, namely, that concerning the shadows not falling both 
ways, Hipparchus himself acknowledged to be false ; for if 
the southern extremity of India were not under the same 
parallel as Meroe, still Hipparchus appears to have considered 
it south of Syene. 

21. In the instances which follow, Hipparchus, treating of 
these subjects, either asserts things similar to those which we 
have already refuted, or takes for granted matters which are 
not so, or draws improper sequences. For instance, from the 
computation [of Eratosthenes] that the distance from Baby- 
lon to Thapsacus 1 is 4800 stadia, and thence northward to 
the mountains of Armenia 2 2100 stadia more, it does not fol- 
low that, starting from the meridian of that city, the distance 
to the northern mountains is above 6000 stadia. Besides, 
Eratosthenes never says that the distance from Thapsacus to 
these mountains is 2100 stadia, but that a part thereof has 
never yet been measured ; so that this argument [of Hippar- 
chus], founded on a false hypothesis, amounts to nothing. Nor 
did Eratosthenes ever assert that Thapsacus lies more than 
4500 stadia north of Babylon. 

22. Again, Hipparchus, ever anxious to defend the [accu- 
racy of the] ancient charts, instead of fairly stating the words 
of Eratosthenes concerning his third section of the habitable 
earth, wilfully makes him the author of an assertion easy of 
disproof. For Eratosthenes, following the opinion we before 
mentioned, that a line drawn from the Pillars of Hercules 
across the Mediterranean, and the length of the Taurus, would 

1 Now Ruins, near Jerobolos, or Jerabees, the ancient Etiropus ; not 
Deer or Deir. 

2 Probably the present Barena, a branch of the Taurus. 


run due west and east, 1 divides, by means of this line, the habit- 
able earth into two portions, which he calls the northern and 
southern divisions ; each of these he again essays to subdivide 
into as many smaller partitions as practicable, which he deno- 
minates sections. 2 He makes India the first section of the 
southern part, and Ariana 3 the second; these two countries pos- 
sessing a good outline, he has been able not only to give us an 
accurate statement of their length and breadth, but an almost 
geometrically exact description of their figure. He tells us that 
the form of India is rhomboidal, being washed on two of its sides 
by the southern and eastern oceans [respectively], which do not 
deeply indent its shores. The two remaining sides are contained 
by its mountains and the river [Indus], so that it presents a 
kind of rectilinear figure. 4 As to Ariana, he considered three 
of its sides well fitted to form a parallelogram ; but of the 
western side he could give no regular definition, as it was in- 
habited by various nations ; nevertheless he attempts an idea 
of it by a line drawn from the Caspian Gates 5 to the limits 
of Carmania, which border on the Persian Gulf. This side 
he calls western, and that next the Indus eastern, but he does 
not tell us they are parallel to each other ; neither does he say 
this of the other sides, one bounded by the mountains, and the 
other by the sea ; he simply calls them north and south. 

23. Having in this manner but imperfectly traced the out- 
lines of his second section, the third section, for various rea- 
sons, is still less exact. The first cause has been already 
explained, viz. that the line from the Caspian Gates to Car- 
mania is not clearly defined, as the side of the section is 
common both to the third and second sections. Secondly, 
on account of the Persian Gulf interrupting the continuity of 

1 This is rather free, but the text could not well otherwise be rendered 

2 atypayidaQ is the Greek word ; for which section is a poor equivalent, 
but the best we believe the language affords. 

3 The name of a considerable portion of Asia. 

4 From Eratosthenes' description of India, preserved by our author in 
his 1 5th book, we gather that he conceived the country to be something in 
the form of an irregular quadrilateral, having one right, two obtuse, and 
one acute angle, consequently none of its sides parallel to each other. On 
the whole Eratosthenes' idea of the country was not near so exact as 
that of Megasthenes. 

5 The Caspian Gates are now known as the Strait of Firouz Koh. 

122 STRABO. 


the southern side, as he himself tells us, he has been obliged to 
take the measured road running through Susa and Persepolis to 
the boundaries of Carmania and Persia, and suppose it straight. 1 
This road, which he calls the southern side, is a little more than 
9000 stadia. He does not, however, tell us, that it runs parallel 
to the northern side. It is also clear that the Euphrates, which 
he makes the western boundary, is any thing but a straight 
line. On leaving the mountains it flows south, but soon shifts 
its course to the east ; it then again pursues a southerly di- 
rection till it reaches the sea. In fact, Eratosthenes himself 
acknowledges the indirect course of this river, when he com- 
pares the shape of Mesopotamia, which is formed by the junc- 
tion of the Tigris and Euphrates, to the cushion on a rower's 
bench. The western side bounded by the Euphrates is not 
entirely measured ; for he tells us that he does not know the 
extent of the portion between Armenia and the northern 
mountains, 2 as it has not been measured. By reason of these 
hinderances he states that he has been only able to give a very 
superficial view of the third section, and that his estimate of 
the distances is borrowed from various Itineraries, some of 
them, according to his own description, anonymous. Hippar- 
chus therefore must be considered guilty of unfairness, for 
criticising with geometrical precision a work of this general 
nature. We ought rather to be grateful to a person who gives 
us any description at all of the character of such [unknown] 
places. But when he urges his geometrical objections not 
against any real statement of Eratosthenes, but merely against 
imaginary hypotheses of his own creation, he shows too plainly 
the contradictory bent of his mind. 

24. It is in this general kind of description of the third 
section that Eratosthenes supposes 10,000 stadia from the 
Caspian Gates to the Euphrates. This he again divides 
according to former admeasurements which he found pre- 
served. Starting from the point where the Euphrates passes 
near to Thapsacus, he computes from thence to the place 
where Alexander crossed the Tigris 2400 stadia. The route 

1 The ruins of Babylon, still called Babil, are on the Euphrates, near 
Hilleh. Susa is now Suz or Schuss, and not Schoster or Toster. The 
ruins of Persepolis remain, and may be seen near Istakar, Tchilminar, 
and Nakchi-Rustan. 

2 Between Thapsacus and Armenia. 

CHAP. i. 25, 26. INTRODUCTION. 123 

thence through Gaugamela, 1 the Lycus, 2 Arbela, 3 and Ecba- 
tana, 4 whither Darius fled from Gaugamela to the Caspian 
Gates, makes up the 10,000 stadia, which is only 300 stadia 
too much. Such is the measure of the northern side given 
by Eratosthenes, which he could not have supposed to be pa- 
rallel to the mountains, nor yet to the line drawn 'from the 
Pillars of Hercules through Athens and Rhodes. For Thap- 
sacus is far removed from the mountains, and the route from 
Thapsacus to the Caspian Gates only falls in with the moun- 
tains at that point. 5 Such is the boundary on the northern 

25. Thus, says Eratosthenes, we have given you a description 
of the northern side ; as for the southern, we cannot take its 
measure along the sea, on account of the Persian Gulf, 
which intercepts [its continuity], but from Babylon through 
Susa and Persepolis to the confines of Persia and Carmania 
there are 9200 stadia. This he calls the southern side, but 
he does not say it is parallel to the northern. The differ- 
ence of length between the northern and southern sides is 
caused, he tells us, by the Euphrates, which after running 
south some distance shifts its course almost due east. 

26. Of the two remaining sides, he describes the western 
first, but whether we are to regard it as one single straight 
line, or two, seems to be undecided. He says, From Thap- 
sacus to Babylon, following the course of the Euphrates, there 
are 4800 stadia ; from thence to the mouth of the Euphrates 6 
and the city of Teredon, 3000 7 more ; from Thapsacus north- 
ward to the Gates of Armenia, having been measured, is 
stated to be 1100 stadia, but the distance through Gordysea 
and Armenia, not having yet been measured, is not given. 
The eastern side, which stretches lengthwise through 
Persia from the Red Sea towards Media and the north, 
does not appear to be less than 8000 stadia, and measured 
from certain headlands above 9000, the rest of the distance 
through Parsetacena and Media to the Caspian Gates being 
3000 stadia. The rivers Tigris and Euphrates flowing 
from Armenia towards the south, after having passed the 

1 Karmelis. 2 The Altun-Suyi, or River of Gold. 3 Erbil. 

4 Hamedan. 5 Viz. at the Gates of the Caspian. 

6 This ancient embouchure of the Euphrates is now known as Khor- 
Abdillah. , 7 Read 3300. 


Gordysean mountains, and having formed a great circle which 
embraces the vast country of Mesopotamia, turn towards the 
rising of the sun in winter and the south, particularly the 
Euphrates, which, continually approaching nearer and nearer 
to the Tigris, passes by the rampart of Semiramis, 1 and at 
about 200 stadia from the village of Opis, 2 thence it flows 
through Babylon, and so discharges itself into the Persian 
Gulf. Thus the figure of Mesopotamia and Babylon resem- 
bles the cushion of a rower's bench. Such are the words of 

27. In the Third Section it is true he does make some mis- 
takes, which we shall take into consideration ; but they are 
nothing like the amount which Hipparchus attributes to 
him. However, we will examine his objections. [In the 
first place,] he would have the ancient charts left just as 
they are, and by no means India brought more to the south, 
as Eratosthenes thinks proper. Indeed, he asserts that the 
very arguments adduced by that writer only confirm him the 
more in his opinion. He says, " According to Eratosthenes, 
the northern side of the third section is bounded by a line of 
10,000 stadia drawn from the Caspian Gates to the Euphrates, 
the southern side from Babylon to the confines of Carmania 
is a little more than 9000 stadia. On the western side, follow- 
ing the course of the Euphrates, from Thapsacus to Babylon 
there are 4800 stadia, and thence to the outlets of the river 
3000 stadia more. Northward from Thapsacus [to the Gates 
of Armenia] is reckoned 1100 stadia; the rest has not been 
measured. Now since Eratosthenes says that the northern 
side of this Third Section is about 10.000 stadia, and that the 
right line parallel thereto drawn from Babylon to the eastern 
side is computed at just above 9000 stadia, it follows that 
Babylon is not much more than 1000 stadia east of the pas- 
sage of [the Euphrates] near Thapsacus." 

28. We answer, that if the Caspian Gates and the boundary 
line of Carmania and Persia were exactly under the same me- 
ridian, and if right lines drawn in the direction of Thapsacus 
and Babylon would intersect such meridian at right angles, 

1 Thought by Col. Rawlinson to be the Chal-i-Nimrud, usually sup- 
posed to mark the site of the Median wall of Xenophon. 

2 Situated on the Tigris. 


the inference would be just. 1 For then the line [from the 
common frontier of Carmania and Persia] to Babylon, if pro- 
duced to the meridian of Thapsacus, would appear to the eye 
equal, or nearly equal, to that from the Caspian Gates to 
Thapsacus. Consequently, Babylon would only be east of 
Thapsacus in the same proportion as the line drawn from the 
Caspian Gates to Thapsacus exceeds the line drawn from the 
frontier of Carmania to Babylon. 2 Eratosthenes, however, 
does not tell us that the line which bounds the western coast 
of Ariana follows the direction of the meridian ; nor yet that 
a line drawn from the Caspian Gates to Thapsacus would form 
right angles with the meridian of the Caspian Gates. But 
rather, that the line which would form right angles with the 
meridian, would be one which should follow the course of the 
Taurus, and with which the line drawn from the Caspian 
Gates to Thapsacus would form an acute angle. Nor, again, 
does he ever say that a line drawn from Carmania to Babylon 
would be parallel to that drawn [from the Caspian Gates] to 
Thapsacus ; and even if it were parallel, this would prove 
nothing for the argument of Hipparchus, since it does not 
form right angles with the meridian of the Caspian Gates. 

29. But taking this for granted, and proving, as he imagines, 
that, according to Eratosthenes, Babylon is east of Thapsacus 
rather more than 1000 stadia, he draws from this false hy- 
pothesis a new argument, which he uses to the following 
purpose ; and says, If we suppose a right line drawn from 
Thapsacus towards the south, and another from Babylon per- 
pendicular thereto, a right-angled triangle would be the result; 
whose sides should be, LA line drawn from Thapsacus to 
Babylon ; 2. A perpendicular drawn from Babylon to the 
meridian of Thapsacus ; 3. The meridian line of Thapsacus. 
The hypotenuse of this triangle would be a right line drawn 
from Thapsacus to Babylon, which he estimates at 4800 stadia. 
The perpendicular drawn from Babylon to the meridian of 
Thapsacus is scarcely more than 1000 stadia, the same 
amount by which the line drawn [from the Caspian Gates] to 

1 A line drawn from the frontiers of Carmania to Babylon would form 
with the meridian an angle of about 50. One from the Caspian Gates 
to Thapsacus would form with the parallel merely an angle of about 30. 

2 Namely, 1000 stadia, by the hypothesis of Hipparchus, or 800 ac- 
cording to Eratosthenes. 


Thapsacus exceeds that [from the common frontier of Car- 
mania and Persia] to Babylon. The two sides [of the tri- 
angle] being given, Hipparchus proceeds to find the third, 
which is much greater than the perpendicular l aforesaid. To 
this he adds the line drawn from Thapsacus northwards to 
the mountains of Armenia, one part of which, according to 
Eratosthenes, was measured, and found to be 1100 stadia ; the 
other, or part unmeasured by Eratosthenes, Hipparchus esti- 
mates to be 1000 stadia at the least : so that the two together 
amount to 2100 stadia. Adding this to the [length of the] 
side upon which falls the perpendicular drawn from Babylon, 
Hipparchus estimated a distance of many thousand stadia 
from the mountains of Armenia and the parallel of Athens 
to this perpendicular, which falls on the parallel of Babylon. 2 
From the parallel of Athens 3 to that of Babylon he shows 
that there cannot be a greater distance than 2400 stadia, even 
admitting the estimate supplied by Eratosthenes himself of 
the number of stadia which the entire meridian contains; 4 
and that if this be so, the mountains of Armenia and the 
Taurus cannot be under the same parallel of latitude as 
Athens, (which is the opinion of Eratosthenes,) but many 
thousand stadia to the north, as the data supplied by that 
writer himself prove. 

But here, for the formation of his right-angled triangle, Hip- 
parchus not only makes use of propositions already overturned, 
but assumes what was never granted, namely, that the hypo- 
tenuse subtending his right angle, which is the straight line 
from Thapsacus to Babylon, is 4800 stadia in length. What 
Eratosthenes says is, that this route follows the course of the 
Euphrates, and adds, that Mesopotamia and Babylon are encom- 
passed as it were by a great circle formed by the Euphrates and 
Tigris, but principally by the former of these rivers. So that 
a straight line from Thapsacus to Babylon would neither follow 
the course of the Euphrates, nor yet be near so many stadia 
in length. Thus the argument [of Hipparchus] is overturned. 
We have stated before, that supposing two lines drawn from 

1 Or second side. 

2 Hipparchus found by this operation that the distance from the paral- 
lel of Babylon to that of the mountains of Armenia was 6795 stadia. 

3 See Humboldt, Cosmos ii. p. 556, note, Bohn's edition. 

4 Eratosthenes estimated 252,000 stadia for the circumference of the 

CHAP. i. $ 30. INTRODUCTION. 127 

the Caspian Gates, one to Thapsacus, and the other to 
the mountains of Armenia opposite Thapsacus, and distant 
therefrom, according to Hipparchus's own estimate, 2100 
stadia at the very least, neither of them would be parallel to 
each other, nor yet to that line which, passing through Baby- 
lon, is styled by Eratosthenes the southern side [of the third 
section]. As he could not inform us of the exact length of 
the route by the mountains, Eratosthenes tells us the dis- 
tance between Thapsacus and the Caspian Gates ; in fact, to 
speak in a general way, he puts this distance in place of the 
other ; besides, as he merely wanted to give the length of the 
territory between Ariana and the Euphrates, he was not par- 
ticular to have the exact measure of either route. To pretend 
that he considered the lines to be parallel to each other, is 
evidently to accuse the man of more than childish ignorance, 
and we dismiss the insinuation as nonsense forthwith. 

30. There, however, are some instances in which one may 
justly accuse Eratosthenes. There is a difference in dissect- 
ing limb by limb, or merely cutting off portions [indiscrimin- 
ately], (for in the former you may only separate parts having 
a natural outline, and distinguished by a regular form ; this 
the poet alludes to in the expression, 

" Cutting them limb from limb;" ' 

whereas in regard to the latter this is not the case,) and we 
may adopt with propriety either one or other of these plans 
according to the time and necessity. So in Geography, if you 
enter into every detail, you may sometimes be compelled to 
divide your territories into portions, so to speak, but it is a more 
preferable way to separate them into limbs, than into such 
chance pieces ; for thus only you can define accurately particular 
points and boundaries, a thing so necessary to the geographer. 
When it can be done, the best way to define a country is by 
the rivers, mountains, or sea ; also, where possible, by the 
nation or nations [who inhabit it], and by its size and con- 
figuration. However, in default of a geometrical definition, 
a simple and general description may be said always to an- 
swer the purpose. In regard to size, it is sufficient to state 
the greatest length and breadth ; for example, that the habit - 

1 Odyssey ix. 291 ; Iliad x*iv. 409. 

128 STRABO. BOOK ii. 

able earth is 70,000 stadia long, and that its breadth is scarcely 
half its length. 1 And as to form, to compare a country to 
any geometrical or other well-known figure. For example, 
Sicily to a triangle, Spain to an ox-hide, or the Peloponnesus 
to a plane-leaf. 2 The larger the territory to be divided, the 
more general also ought its divisions to be. 

31. [In the system of Eratosthenes], the habitable earth 
has been admirably divided into two parts by the Taurus and 
the Mediterranean Sea, which reaches to the Pillars. On the 
southern side, the limits of India have been described by a 
variety of methods ; by its mountains, 3 its river, 4 its seas, 5 
and its name, 6 which seems to indicate that it is inhabited 
only by ojoej^eople. 7 It is with justice too that he attributes 
to it the form of a quadrilateral or rhomboid. Ariana is not 
so accurately described, on account of its western side being 
interwoven with the adjacent land. Still it is pretty well 
distinguished by its three other sides, which are formed by 
three nearly straight lines, and also by its name, which shows 
it to be only one nation. 8 As to the Third Section of Eratos- 
thenes, it cannot be considered to be denned or circumscribed 
at all; for that side of it which is common to Ariana is but 
ill defined, as before remarked. The southern side, too, 
is most negligently taken : it is, in fact, no boundary to the 
section at all, for it passes right through its centre, leaving 
entirely outside of it many of the southern portions. Nor 

1 Strabo estimated the length of the continent at 70,000 stadia from 
Cape St. Vincent to Cape Comorin, and 29,300 stadia as its breadth. 

2 The ancient geographers often speak of these kind of resemblances. 
They have compared the whole habitable earth to a soldier's cloak or 
mantle, as also the town of Alexandria, which they styled %\ajuvoad. 
Italy at one time to a leaf of parsley, at another to an oak-leaf. Sar- 
dinia to a human foot-print. The isle of Naxos to a vine-leaf. Cyprus 
to a sheep-skin; and the Black Sea to a Scythian bow, bent. The ear- 
liest coins of Peloponnesus, struck about 750 years before the Christian 
era, bear the impress of a tortoise, because that animal abounded on 
the shores, and the divisions and height of its shell were thought to offer 
some likeness to the territorial divisions of the little states of Pelopon- 
nesus and the mountain-ridges which run through the middle of that 
country. The Sicilians took for their symbol three thighs and legs, 
arranged in such an order that the bended knees might resemble the 
three capes of that island and its triangular form. 

3 The chain of the Taurus. 4 The Indus. 

3 The Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. 6 India. 

7 Viz. Indians. 8 Ariana, or the nation of the Arians. 

CHAP. i. $ 31. INTRODUCTION. 129 

yet does it represent the greatest length of the section, for 
the northern side is the longest. 1 Nor, lastly, can the Eu- 
phrates be its western boundary, not even if it flowed in a 
right line, since its two extremes 2 do not lie under the same 
meridian. How then is it the western rather than the south- 
ern boundary ? Apart from this, the distance to the Seas of 
Cilicia and Syria is so inconsiderable, that there can be_no 
reason why he should not have enlargedj the third section, 
so as to include the kingdoms of Semiicamis and Ninus, who 
are both of them known as Syrian monarch s ; the~first built 
Babylon, which he made his royal residence ; the ^second 
Nmus, 3 the capital ofJSyjria; 4 and the same dialect still ex- 
iss~on both sides of the Euphrates^*" The idea of thus dis- 
membering so renowned a nation, and allotting its portions 
to strange nations with which it had no connexion, is as pe- 
culiarly unfortunate. Eratosthenes cannot plead that he was 
compelled to do this on account of its size, for had it extended 
as far as the sea and the frontiers of Arabia Felix and Egypt, 
even then it would not have been as large as India, or even 
Ariana. It would have therefore been much better to have 
enlarged the third section, making it comprehend the whole 
space as far as the Sea of Syria ; but if this were done, the 
southern side would not be as he represents it, nor yet in a 
straight line, but starting from Carmania would follow the 
right side of the sea-shore from the Persian Gulf to the 
mouth of the Euphrates ; it would then approach the limits 
of Mesene 5 and Babylon, where the Isthmus commences 
which separates Arabia Felix from the rest of the continent. 
Traversing the Isthmus, it would continue its course to the 
recess of the Arabian Gulf and Pelusium, 6 thence to the 
mouth of the Nile at Canopus. 7 Such would be the southern 

1 By 800 stadia. 2 Viz. of the Euphrates. 3 Or Nineveh. 

4 Syria, properly so called, extended from the shores of the Mediter- 
ranean to the Euphrates. Between the Euphrates^and the Tigris lay 
Mesopotamia, andTeyond the Tigris. Assyria. The wjiole of these 
countries formerly bore the name of Syria?"" The Hebrews denominated 
Mesopotamia^ Syria of the Rivers. The name Assyria seems to be no- 
thing more than Syria with the article prefixed. Nineveh stood on the 
eastern bank of the Tigris. 

5 Mesene comprehends the low and sandy grounds traversed by the 
Euphrates, immediately before it discharges itself into the Persian Gulf. 

6 Tineh. 7 Moadieh, near to Aboukir. 

VOL. I. K 


side. The west would be traced by the sea-shore from the 
[river's] mouth at Canopus to Cilicia. 1 

32. The fourth section would consist of Arabia Felix, 
the Arabian Gulf, and the whole of Egypt and Ethiopia. Its 
length bounded by two meridians, one drawn through its most 
western point, the other through its most eastern ; and its 
breadth by two parallels through its most northern and south- 
ern points. For this is the best way to describe the extent 
of irregular figures, whose length and breadth cannot be de- 
termined by their sides. 

In general it is to be observed, that length and breadth are 
to be understood in different ways, according as you speak of 
the whole or a part. Of a whole, the greater distance is 
called its length, and the lesser its breadth ; of a part, that 
is to be considered the length which is parallel to the length 
of the whole, without any regard whether it, or that 
which is left for the breadth, be the greater distance. The 
length of the whole habitable earth is measured from east to 
west by a line drawn parallel to the equator, and its breadth 
from north to south in the direction of the meridian ; conse- 
quently, the length of any of the parts ought to be portions 
of a line drawn parallel to the length of the whole, and their 
breadth to the breadth of the whole. For, in the first place, 
by this means the size of the whole habitable earth will be 
best described ; and secondly, the disposition and configuration 
of its parts, and the manner in which one may be said to be 
greater or less than another, will be made manifest by thus 
comparing them. 

33. Eratosthenes, however, measures the length of the 
habitable earth by a line which he considers straight, drawn 
from the Pillars of Hercules, in the direction of the Caspian 
Gates and the Caucasus. The length of the third section, 
by a line drawn from the Caspian Gates to Thapsacus, 
and of the fourth, by one running from Thapsacus through 
Heroopolis to the country surrounded by the Nile : this 
must necessarily be deflected to Canopus and Alexandria, 
for there is the last mouth of the Nile, which goes by the 
name of the Canopic 2 or Heracleotic mouth. Whether 

1 Along the coasts of Egypt, past Palestine and Syria, to the recess 
of the Gulf of Issus, where Cilicia commences. 

2 Canopus, near to Aboukir. 


therefore these two lengths be considered to form one 
straight line, or to make an angle with Thapsacus, cer- 
tain it is that neither of them is parallel to the length of the 
habitable earth ; this is evident from what Eratosthenes has 
himself said concerning them. According to him the length 
of the habitable earth is described by a right line running 
through the Taurus to the Pillars of Hercules, in the direc- 
tion of the Caucasus, Rhodes, and Athens. From Rhodes to 
Alexandria, following the meridian of the two cities, he says 
there cannot be much less than 4000 stadia, 1 consequently there 
must be the same difference between the latitudes of Rhodes 
and Alexandria. Now the latitude of Heroopolis is about the 
same as Alexandria, or rather more south. So that a line, 
whether straight or broken, which intersects the parallel of 
Heroopolis, Rhodes, or the Gates of the Caspian, cannot be 
parallel to either of these. These lengths therefore are 
not properly indicated, nor are the northern sections any 

34. We will now return at once to Hipparchus, and see 
what comes next. Continuing to palm assumptions of his own 
[upon Eratosthenes], he goes on to refute, with geometrical 
accuracy, statements which that author had made in a mere 
general way. " Eratosthenes," he says, " estimates that there 
are 6700 stadia between Babylon and the Caspian Gates, 
and from Babylon to the frontiers of Carmania and Persia 
above 9000 stadia ; this he supposes to lie in a direct line 
towards the equinoctial rising, 2 and perpendicular to the com- 
mon side of his second and third sections. Thus, according 
to his plan, we should have a right-angled triangle, with the 
right angle next to the frontiers of Carmania, and its hypo- 
tenuse less than one of the sides about the right angle ! 
Consequently Persia should be included in the second sec- 
tion." 3 

1 It was a mistake common to Eratosthenes, Hipparchus, and Strabo, 
to fancy that Rhodes and Alexandria were under the same meridian. The 
longitude of the two cities differs by 2<> 22' 45". 

2 Due east. 

3 The following is a Resume of the argument of Hipparchus, " The 
hypotenuse of the supposed triangle, or the line drawn from Babylon to 
the Caspian Gates being only 6700 stadia, would be necessarily shorter 
than either of the other sides, since the line from Babylon to the fron- 
tiers of Carmania is estimated by Eratosthenes at 9170, and that from 
the frontiers of Carmania to the Caspian Gates above 9000 stadia. 

K 2 

132 STRABO. BOOK ii. 

To this we reply, that the line drawn from Babylon to Car- 
mania was never intended as a parallel, nor yet that which 
divides the two sections as a meridian, and that therefore no- 
thing has been laid to his charge, at all events with any just 
foundation. In fact, Eratosthenes having stated the number 
of stadia from the Caspian Gates to Babylon as above 
given, 1 [from the Caspian Gates] to Susa 4900 stadia, 
and from Babylon [to Susa] 3400 stadia, Hipparchus runs 
away from his former hypothesis, and says that [by draw- 
ing lines from] the Caspian Gates, Susa, and Babylon, 
an -obtuse-angled triangle would be the result, whose sides 
should be of the length laid down, and of which Susa 
would form the obtuse angle. He then argues, that "accord- 
ing to these premises, the meridian drawn from the Gates of 
the Caspian will intersect the parallel of Babylon and Susa 
4400 stadia more to the west, than would a straight line 
drawn from the Caspian to the confines of Carmania and 
Persia ; and that this last line, forming with the meridian of 
the Caspian Gates half a right angle, would lie exactly 
in a direction midway between the south and the equinoctial 
rising. Now as the course of the Indus is parallel to this 
line, it cannot flow south on its descent from the mountains, as 
Eratosthenes asserts, but in a direction lying between the 
south and the equinoctial rising, as laid down in the ancient 
charts." But who is there who will admit this to be an ob- 
tuse-angled triangle, without also admitting that it contains a 
right angle ? Who will agree that the line from Babylon to 
Susa, which forms one side of this obtuse-angled triangle, lies 
parallel, without admitting the same of the whole line as far 
as Carmania ? or that the line drawn from the Caspian Gates 
to the frontiers of Carmania is parallel to the Indus ? Never- 
theless, without this the reasoning [of Hipparchus] is worth 

" Eratosthenes himself also states," [continues Hipparchus, 2 ] 

The frontiers of Carmania would thus be east of the Caspian Gates, 
and Persia would consequently be comprised, not in the third, but in the 
second section of Eratosthenes, being east of the meridian of the Caspian 
Gates, which was the boundary of the two sections." Strabo, in the text, 
points out the falsity of this argument. 

1 Viz. 6700 stadia. 

2 These two words, continues Hipparchus, are not in the text, but the ar- 
gument is undoubtedly his. 


"that the form of India is rhomboidal ; and since the whole 
eastern border of that country has a decided tendency to- 
wards the east, but more particularly the extremest cape, 1 
which lies more to the south than any other part of the coast, 
the side next the Indus must be the same." 

35. These arguments may be very geometrical, but they 
are not convincing. After having himself invented these 
various difficulties, he dismisses them, saying, " Had [Eratos- 
thenes] been chargeable for small distances only, he might 
have been excused ; but since his mistakes involve thousands 
of stadia, we cannot pardon him, more especially since he has 
laid it down that at a mere distance of 400 stadia, 2 such as 
that between the parallels of Athens and Rhodes, there is a 
sensible variation [of latitude]." But these sensible variations 
are not all of the same kind, the distance [involved therein] 
being in some instances greater, in others less ; greater, when 
for our estimate of the climata we trust merely to the eye, or 
are guided by the vegetable productions and the temperature 
of the air ; less, when we employ gnomons and dioptric in- 
struments. Nothing is more likely than that if you measure 
the parallel of Athens, or that of Rhodes and Caria, by means 
of a gnomon, the difference resulting from so many stadia 3 
will be sensible. But when a geographer, in order to trace a 
line from west to east, 3000 stadia broad, makes use of a chain 
of mountains 40,000 stadia long, and also of a sea which ex- 
tends still farther 30,000 stadia, and farther wishing to point 
out the situation of the different parts of the habitable earth 
relative to this line, calls some southern, others northern, and 
finally lays out what he calls the sections, each section con- 
sisting of divers countries, then we ought carefully to examine 
in what acceptation he uses his terms ; in what sense he says 
that such a side [of any section] is the north side, and what 
other is the south, or east, or west side. If he does not take 
pains to avoid great errors, he deserves to be blamed, but 
should he be guilty merely of trifling inaccuracies, he should 
be forgiven. But here nothing shows thoroughly that Era- 

1 Cape Comorin. 

- 400 stadia, allowing 700 to a degree, would give 34' 17" latitude. 
According to present astronomical calculations, the distance between the 
parallels of Rhodes and Athens is 1 36' 30". 

3 Viz. 400 stadia, or 34' 17" of latitude. 

134 STRABO. BOOK ii. 

tosthenes has committed either serious or slight errors, for on 
one hand what he may have said concerning such great dis- 
tances, can never be verified by a geometrical test, and on 
the other, his accuser, while endeavouring to reason like a 
geometrician, does not found his arguments on any real data, 
but on gratuitous suppositions. 

36. The fourth section Hipparchus certainly manages 
better, though he still maintains the same censorious tone, 
and obstinacy in sticking to his first hypotheses, or others 
similar. He properly objects to Eratosthenes giving as the 
length of this section a line drawn from Thapsacus to Egypt, 
as being similar to the case of a man who should tell us that 
the diagonal of a parallelogram was its length. For Thap- 
sacus and the coasts of Egypt are by no means under the 
same parallel of latitude, but under parallels considerably 
distant from each other, 1 and a line drawn from Thapsacus to 
Egypt would lie in a kind of diagonal or oblique direction 
between them. But he is wrong when he expresses his sur- 
prise that Eratosthenes should dare to state the distance be- 
tween Pelusium and Thapsacus at 6000 stadia, when he says 
there are above 8000. In proof of this he advances that the 
parallel of Pelusium is south of that of Babylon by more than 
2500 stadia, and that according to Eratosthenes (as he supposes) 
the latitude of Thapsacus is above 4800 stadia north of that 
of Babylon ; from which Hipparchus tells us it results that 
[between Thapsacus and Pelusium] there are more than 
8000 stadia. But I would inquire how he can prove that 
Eratosthenes supposed so great a distance between the pa- 
rallels of Babylon and Thapsacus ? He says, indeed, that such 
is the distance from Thapsacus to Babylon, but not that there 
is this distance between their parallels, nor yet that Thapsacus 
and Babylon are under the same meridian. So much the 
contrary, that Hipparchus has himself pointed out, that, accord- 
ing to Eratosthenes, Babylon ought to be east of Thapsacus 
more than 2000 stadia. We have before cited the statement 
of Eratosthenes, that Mesopotamia and Babylon are encircled 
by the Tigris and Euphrates, and that the greater portion of 
the Circle is formed by this latter river, which flowing north 
and south takes a turn to the east, and then, returning to a 

1 The difference of latitude between Thapsacus and Pelusium is about 
4 27'. 

CHAP. i. 36, 37. INTRODUCTION. 135 

southerly direction, discharges itself [into the sea]. So long 
as it flows from north to south, it may be said to follow a 
southerly direction ; but the turning towards the east and 
Babylon is a decided deviation from the southerly direction, 
and it never recovers a straight course, but forms the circuit 
we have mentioned above. When he tells us that the journey 
from Babylon to Thapsacus is 4800 stadia, he adds, following 
the course of the Euphrates, as if on purpose lest any one 
should understand such to be the distance in a direct line, or 
between the two parallels. If this be not granted, it is alto- 
gether a vain attempt to show that if a right-angled triangle 
were constructed by lines drawn from Pelusium and Thap- 
sacus to the point where the parallel of Thapsacus intercepts 
the meridian of Pelusium, that one of the lines which form the 
right angle, and is in the direction of the meridian, would be 
longer than that forming the hypotenuse drawn from Thap- 
sacus to Pelusium. 1 Worthless, too, is the argument in con- 
nexion with this, being the inference from a proposition not 
admitted ; for Eratosthenes never asserts that from Babylon to 
the meridian of the Caspian Gates is a distance of 4800 
stadia. We have shown that Hipparchus deduces this from 
data not admitted by Eratosthenes ; but desirous to controvert 
every thing advanced by that writer, he assumes that from 
Babylon to the line drawn from the Caspian Gates to the 
mountains of Carmania, according to Eratosthenes' descrip- 
tion, there are above 9000 stadia, and from thence draws his 

37. Eratosthenes 2 cannot, therefore, be found fault with on 
these grounds ; what may be objected against him is as follows. 
When you wish to give a general outline of size and confi- 
guration, you should devise for yourself some rule which 
may be adhered to more or less. After having laid down 
that the breadth of the space occupied by the mountains 
which run in a direction due east, as well as by the sea which 
reaches to the Pillars of Hercules, is 3000 stadia, would you 
pretend to estimate different lines, which you may draw within 
the breadth of that space, as one and the same line ? We 

1 The text here is evidently corrupt. 

2 Gosselin makes some sensible remarks on this section ; we have 
endeavoured to render it accurately, but much fear that the true meaning 
of Strabo is now obscured by corruptions in the text. 

136 STRABO. 


should be more willing to grant you the power of doing so 
with respect to the lines which run parallel to that space than 
with those which fall upon it; and among these latter, 
rather with respect to those which fall within it than to 
those which extend without it; and also rather for those 
which, in regard to the shortness of their extent, would not 
pass out of the said space than for those which would. And 
again, rather for lines of some considerable length than for any 
thing very short, for the inequality of lengths is less percep- 
tible in great extents than the difference of configuration. 
For example, if you give 3000 stadia for the breadth at the 
Taurus, as well as for the sea which extends to the Pillars of 
Hercules, you will form a parallelogram entirely enclosing 
both the mountains of the Taurus and the sea ; if you divide it 
in its length into several other parallelograms, and draw first 
the diagonal of the great parallelogram, and next that of 
each smaller parallelogram, surely the diagonal of the great 
parallelogram will be regarded as a line more nearly parallel 
and equal to the side forming the length of that figure than 
the diagonal of any of the smaller parallelograms : and the 
more your lesser parallelograms should be multiplied, the 
more will this become evident. Certainly, it is in great 
figures that the obliquity of the diagonal and its difference 
from the side forming the length are the less perceptible, so that 
you would have but little scruple in taking the diagonal as 
the length of the figure. But if you draw the diagonal more 
inclined, so that it falls beyond both sides, or at least beyond 
one of the sides, then will this no longer be the case ; and 
this is the sense in which we have observed, that when you at- 
tempted to draw even in a very general way the extents of 
the figures, you ought to adopt some rule. But Eratosthenes 
takes a line from the Caspian Gates along the mountains, 
running as it were in the same parallel as far as the Pillars, 
and then a second line, starting directly from the mountains 
to touch Thapsacus ; and again a third line from Thapsacus 
to the frontiers of Egypt, occupying so great a breadth. If then 
in proceeding you give the length of the two last lines [taken 
together] as the measure of the length of the district, you will 
appear to measure the length of one of your parallelograms by 
its diagonal. And if, farther, this diagonal should consist of 
a broken line, as that would be which stretches from the 

CHAP. i. 38, 39. INTRODUCTION. 137 

Caspian Gates to the embouchure of the Nile, passing by 
Thapsacus, your error will appear much greater. This is the 
sum of what may be alleged against Eratosthenes. 

38. In another respect also we have to complain of Hip- 
parchus, because, as he had given a category of the state- 
ments of Eratosthenes, he ought to have corrected his mis- 
takes, in the same way that we have done ; but whenever he 
has any thing particular to remark, he tells us to follow the 
ancient charts, which, to say the least, need correction infi- 
nitely .more than the map of Eratosthenes. 

The argument which follows is equally objectionable, being 
founded on the consequences of a proposition which, as we 
have shown, is inadmissible, namely, that Babylon was not 
more than 1000 stadia east of Thapsacus ; when it was 
quite clear, from Eratosthenes' own words, that Babylon 
was above 2400 stadia east of that place ; since from Thap- 
sacus to the passage of the Euphrates where it was crossed 
by Alexander, the shortest route is 2400 stadia, and the 
Tigris and Euphrates, having encompassed Mesopotamia, 
flow towards the east, and afterwards take a southerly direc- 
tion and approach nearer to each other and to Babylon at 
the same time : nothing appears absurd in this statement of 

39. The next objection of Hipparchus is likewise false. 
He attempts to prove that Eratosthenes, in his statement 
that the route from Thapsacus to the Caspian Gates is 
10,000 stadia, gives this as the distance taken in a straight 
line ; such not being the case, as in that instance the distance 
would be much shorter. His mode of reasoning is after this 
fashion. He says, " According to Eratosthenes, the mouth 
of the Nile at Canopus, 1 and the Cyanea?, 2 are under the 
same meridian, which is distant from that of Thapsacus 6300 
stadia. Now from the Cyaneas to Mount Caspius, which is 
situated close to the defile 3 leading from Colchis to the Cas- 

1 Moadieh, the mouth of the river close to Aboukir. 

2 Certain little islets at the mouth of the canal of Constantinople, in the 
Black Sea. These islands want about a degree and a quarter of being 
under the same meridian as Moadieh. 

3 Gosselin remarks, that the defile intended by Strabo, was probably 
the valley of the river Kur, or the ancient Cyrus, in Georgia; and by 
Mount Caspius we are to understand the high mountains of Georgia, 

138 STRABO. 


pian Sea, there are 6600 stadia, 1 so that, with the exception 
of about 300 stadia, the distance from the meridian of the 
Cyaneas to that of Thapsacus, or to that of Mount Caspius, is 
the same : and both Thapsacus and Mount Caspius are, so 
to speak, under the same meridian. 2 It follows from this 
that the Caspian Gates are about equi-distant between Thap- 
sacus and Mount Caspius, but that the distance between 
them and Thapsacus is much less than the 10,000 stadia men- 
tioned by Eratosthenes. Consequently, as the distance in a 
right line is much less than 10,000 stadia, this route, which 
he considered to be in a straight course from the Caspian 
Gates to Thapsacus, must have been a circumbendibus." 

To this we reply, that Eratosthenes, as is usual in Geogra- 
phy, speaks of right lines, meridians, and parallels to the 
equator, with considerable latitude, whereas Hipparchus cri- 
ticizes him with geometrical nicety, as if every line had been 
measured with rule and compass. Hipparchus at the same 
time himself frequently deciding as to right lines and paral- 
lels, not by actual measurement, but mere conjecture. Such 
is the first error of this writer. A second is, that he never 
lays down the distances as Eratosthenes has given them, nor 
yet reasons on the data furnished by that writer, but from 
mere assumptions of his own coinage. Thus, where Era- 
tosthenes states that the distance from the mouth of the 
[Thracian Bosphorus] to the Phasis is 8000 stadia, from 
thence to Dioscurias 600 stadia, 3 and from Dioscurias to Cas- 
pius five days' journey, (which Hipparchus estimates at 1000 
stadia,) the sum of these, as stated by Eratosthenes, would 
amount to 9600 stadia. This Hipparchus abridges in the fol- 
lowing manner. From the Cyanese to the Phasis are 5600 
stadia, and from the Phasis to the Caspius 1000 more. 4 There- 

whence the waters, which fall on one side into the Black Sea, and on the 
other into the Caspian, take their rise. 

1 Gosselin also observes, that on our charts this distance is about 8100 
stadia of 700 to a degree. Consequently the difference between the 
meridian of Thapsacus and that of Mount Caspius is as much as 4 45', 
in place of the 300 stadia, or from 25' to 26' supposed by Hipparchus. 

2 On the contrary, Mount Caspius is east of the meridian of Thapsacus 
by about 2500 stadia, of 700 to a degree. 

3 Now Iskouriah. Dioscurias, however, is 800 stadia from the Phasis, 
of 700 to a degree. 

4 According to our improved charts, the distance from the meridian of 


fore it is no statement of Eratosthenes that the Caspius and 
Thapsacus are under the same meridian, but of Hipparchus 
himself. However, supposing Eratosthenes says so, does it 
follow that the distance from the Caspius to the Caspian 
Gates, and that from Thapsacus to the same point, are 
equal. 1 

40. In the second book of his Commentaries, Hipparchus, 
having again mooted the question concerning the mountains 
of the Taurus, of which we have spoken sufficiently, proceeds 
with the northern parts of the habitable earth. He then 
notices the statement of Eratosthenes concerning the coun- 
tries situated west of the Euxine, 2 namely, that the three 
[principal] headlands [of this continent], the first the Pelo- 
ponnesian, the second the Italian, the third the Ligurian, run 
from north [to south], enclosing the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian 
Gulfs. 3 After this general exposition, Hipparchus proceeds 
to criticise each point in detail, but rather on geometrical than 
geographical grounds ; on these subjects, however, the number 
of Eratosthenes' errors is so overwhelming, as also of Timos- 
thenes the author of the Treatise on the Ports, (whom Eratos- 
thenes prefers above every other writer, though he often decides 
even against him,) that it does not seem to be worth my time 
to review their faulty productions, nor even what Hipparchus 
has to say about them ; since he neither enumerates all their 
blunders, nor yet sets them right, but only points out how 

the Cyaneas to that of the Phasis is 6800 stadia, of 700 to a degree ; from 
the Cyaneato Mount Caspius, 8080. 

1 The meridian of Mount Caspius is about 2625 stadia nearer the 
Caspian Gates than that of Thapsacus. 

2 fitTa TOV Tlovrov, literally, after the Pontus. 

3 Gosselin observes, that Eratosthenes took a general view of the salient 
points of land that jutted into the Mediterranean, as some of the learned 
of our own time have done, when remarking that most of the continents 
terminated in capes, extending towards the south. The first promontory that 
Eratosthenes speaks of terminated in Cape Malea of the Peloponnesus, 
and comprised the whole of Greece ; the Italian promontory likewise ter- 
minated Italy ; the Ligurian promontory was reckoned to include all Spain, 
it terminated at Cape Tarifa, near to the middle of the Strait of Gibraltar. 
As the Ligurians had obtained possession of a considerable portion of the 
coasts of France and Spain, that part of the Mediterranean which washes 
the shores of those countries was named the Ligurian Sea. It extended 
from the Arno to the Strait of Gibraltar. It is in accordance with this 
nomenclature that Eratosthenes called Cape Tarifa, which projects far- 
thest into the Strait, the Ligurian promontory. 



they falsify and contradict each other. Still any one might cer- 
tainly object to the saying of Eratosthenes, that Europe has but 
three headlands, and considering as one that which terminates 
by the Peloponnesus, notwithstanding it is broken up into so 
many divisions. In fact, Sunium 1 is as much a promontory as 
Laconia, and not very much less south than Malea, 2 forming a 
considerable bay. 3 and the Thracian Chersonesus 4 and Suni- 
um 5 form the Gulf of Melas, 6 and likewise those of Macedonia. 7 
Added to this, it is manifest that the majority of the distances 
are falsely stated, thus arguing an ignorance of geography 
scarcely credible, and so far from requiring geometrical de- 
monstration that it stands out prominent on the very face of 
the statements. For example, the distance from Epidamnus 8 
to the Thermaic Gulf 9 is above 2000 stadia ; Eratosthenes 
gives it at 900. So too he states the distance from Alexandria 
to Carthage at 13,000 10 stadia ; it is not more than 9000, that 
is, if, as he himself tells us, Caria and Rhodes are under 
the same meridian as Alexandria, 11 and the Strait of Messina 
under the same as Carthage, 12 for every one is agreed that the 
voyage from Caria to the Strait of Sicily does not exceed 
9000 stadia. 

It is doubtless permissible in very great distances to con- 
sider as under one and the same meridian places which are 
not more east and west of each other than Carthage is west 
of the Strait ; 13 but an error of 3000 stadia is too much ; and 
when he places Rome under the same meridian as Carthage, 
notwithstanding its being so far west of that city, it is but 

I Cape Colonna. 2 Cape Malio, or St. Angelo. 

3 Strabo means the Saronic Gulf, now the Bay of Engia. 

4 The peninsula of Gallipoli by the Dardanelles. 

5 Trpoe TO Sounoi/. Strabo's meaning is, that the entire space of sea, 
bounded on the north by the Thracian Chersonesus, and on the south by 
Sunium, or Cape Colonna, forms a kind of large gulf. 

6 Or Black Gulf; the Gulf of Saros. 

7 The Gulfs of Contessa, Monte-Santo, Cassandra, and Salonica. 

8 Durazzo, on the coast of Albania. 

9 The Gulf of Salonica. 10 Read 13,500 stadia. 

II It was an error alike shared in by Eratosthenes, Hipparchus, and 
Strabo, that Alexandria and Rhodes were under the same meridian, not- 
withstanding the former of these cities is 2 22' 45" east of the latter. 

12 This is an error peculiar to Eratosthenes. The meridians of Carthage 
and the Strait of Messina differ by 5 45'. 

13 The Strait of Messina. 


the crowning proof of his extreme ignorance both of these 
places, and likewise of the other countries farther west as far 
as the Pillars of Hercules. 

41. Since Hipparchus does not furnish a Geography of his 
own, but merely reviews what is said in that of Eratosthenes, 
he ought to have gone farther, and corrected the whole of 
that writer's mistakes. As for ourselves, it is only in those 
particulars where Eratosthenes is correct (and we acknow- 
ledge that he frequently errs) that we have thought it our 
duty to quote his own words, in order to reinstate them in 
their position, and to defend him when he could be acquitted 
of the charges of Hipparchus ; never failing to break a 
lance with the latter writer whenever his objections seemed 
to be the result of a mere propensity to find fault. But when 
Eratosthenes is grossly mistaken, and the animadversions of 
Hipparchus are just, we have thought it sufficient in our 
Geography to set him (Eratosthenes) right by merely stating 
facts as they are. As the mistakes were so continual and 
numerous, it was better not to mention them except in a 
sparse and general manner. This principle in the details we 
shall strive to carry out. In the present instance we shall 
only remark, that Timosthenes, Eratosthenes, and those who 
preceded them, were but ill acquainted with Iberia and Kel- 
tica, 1 and a thousand times less with Germany, Britain, 
and the land of the Getae and Bastarnae. 2 Their want of 
knowledge is also great in regard to Italy, the Adriatic, the 
Euxine, and the countries north of these. Possibly this last 
remark may be regarded as captious, since Eratosthenes states, 
that as to distant countries, he has merely given the admea- 
surements as he finds them supplied by others, without vouch- 
ing for their accuracy, although he sometimes adds whether 
the route indicated is more or less in a right line. We should 
not therefore subject to a too rigorous examination distances 
as to which no one is agreed, after the manner Hipparchus 
does, both in regard to the places already mentioned, and also 
to those of which Eratosthenes has given the distance from 
Hyrcania to Bactria and the countries beyond, and those from 

1 Spain and France. 

2 The Getae occupied the east of Moldavia and Bessarabia, between 
the Danube and the Dniester. The Bastarnae inhabited the north of 
Moldavia and a part of the Ukraine. 

142 STRABO. BOOK n. 

Colchis to the Sea of Hyrcania. These are points where we 
should not scrutinize him so narrowly as [when he describes] 
places situated in the heart of our continent, 1 or others equally 
well known ; and even these should be regarded from a geo- 
graphical rather than a geometrical point of view. Hippar- 
chus, at the end of the second book of his Commentaries on 
the Geography of Eratosthenes, having found fault with cer- 
tain statements relative to Ethiopia, tells us at the commence- 
ment of the third, that his strictures, though to a certain 
point geographical, will be mathematical for the most part. 
As for myself, I cannot find any geography there. To me 
it seems entirely mathematical ; but Eratosthenes himself 
set the example ; for he frequently runs into scientific specu- 
lations, having little to do with the subject in hand, and 
which result in vague and inexact conclusions. Thus he is 
a mathematician in geography, and in mathematics a geogra- 
pher ; and so lies open to the attacks of both parties. In this 
third book, both he and Timosthenes get such severe justice, 
that there seems nothing left for us to do; Hipparchus is 
quite enough. 

1 The Greek has simply, Kara TTJV riireip&riv, in the continent, but 
Strabo, by this expression, only meant to designate those parts of the 
continent best known and nearest to the Greeks. The other countries, 
in regard to which he pleads for some indulgence to be shown to Eratos- 
thenes, are equally in the same continent. Kramer and other editors 
suspect an error in the text here. 

CHAP. ii. 1, 2. INTRODUCTION. 143 


1. WE will now proceed to examine the statements made 
by Posidonius in his Treatise on the Ocean. ThFs Treatise 
contains much geographical info7rniatTon7^olnetimes given in a 
manner conformable to the subject, at others too mathematical. 
It will not, therefore, be amiss to look into some of his state- 
ments, both now and afterwards, as opportunity occurs, taking 
care to confine ourselves within bounds. Pie deals simply 
with geography, when he tg.lla ns, t.hqt the ear {.h is spheroidal 
and the universe too, and admits the necessary consequences 
ot this hypothesis^ one of which is, that the earth contains 
five zone's. 

2. Posidonius informs us that Parmenides was the first to 
make this division of the earth into five zones, but tEaT he 
almost doubled the size of the torrid zone, which is situated 
between the_ tropics, by bringing it beyond these into the 
temperate zones. 1 But according to Aristotle the torrid zone 
is contained between the tropics, the temperate zones occupy- 
ing the whole space between the tropics and the arctic cir- 
cles. 2 Both of these divisions Posidonius justly condemns, 
for the torrid zone is properly the space rendered uninhabit- 
able by the heat. Whereas more than half of the space be- 
tween the tropics is inhabited, as we may judge by the 
Ethiopians who dwell above Egypt. The equator divides the 
whole of this space into two equal parts. Now from Syene, 

1 According to Plutarch, both Thales and Pythagoras had divided the 
earth into five zones. Since Parmenides lived one hundred and fifty years 
after the first of these philosophers, lie cannot be considered the author 
of this division. As Posidonius and Strabo estimated the breadth of the 
torrid zone at 8800 stadia, and Parmenides is said to have nearly doubled 
it, this would give 17,600 stadia, or 25 &' 34", taking this at 25 it would 
appear that Parmenides extended the torrid zone one degree beyond the 

2 The Arctic Circles of the ancients were not the same as ours, but 
varied for every latitude. Aristotle limited the temperate zone to those 
countries which had the constellation of the crown in their Arctic Circle, 
the brilliant star of that constellation in his time had a northern declina- 
tion of about 36 30', consequently he did not reckon that the temperate 
zone reached farther north or south than 53 and a half. We shall see 
that Strabo adopted much the same opinion, fixing the northern bounds 
of the habitable earth at 54 25' 42". Gosselin. 


which is the limit of the summer tropic, to Meroe, there are 
5000 stadia, and thence to the parallel of the Cinnamon 
region, where the torrid zone commences, 3000 stadia. The 
whole of this distance has been measured, and it may be gone 
over either by sea or land ; the remaining portion to the equa- 
tor is, if we adopt the measure of the earth supplied by Era- 
tosthenes, 8800 stadia. Therefore, as 16,800 is to 8800, so is 
the space comprised between the tropics to the breadth of the 
torrid zone. 

If of the more recent measurements we prefer those which 
diminish the size of the earth, such as that adopted by Posi- 
donius, which is about 180,000 stadia, 1 the torrid zone will still 
only occupy half, or rather more than half, of the space com- 
prised between the tropics ; but never an equal space. [Re- 
specting the system of Aristotle, Posidonius farther says,] 
" Since it is not every latitude which has Arctic Circles, 2 and 
even those which do possess them have not the same, how 
can any one determine by them the bounds of the temperate 
zones, which are immutable?" Nothing however is proved 
[against Aristotle] from the fact that there are not Arctic 
Circles for every latitude, since they exist for all the inhabit- 
ants of the temperate zone, on whose account alone the 
zone receives its name of temperate. But the objection that 
the Arctic Circles do not remain the same for every latitude, 
but shift their places, is excellent. 3 

3. Posidonius, who himself divides the earth into zones, tells 
us that " five is the number best suited for the explanation 
of the celestial appearances, two of these are periscii, 4 which 
reach from the poles to the point where the tropics serve for 
Arctic Circles ; two more are heteroscii, 5 which extend from 

1 JFor the circumference . 

' r *"vlz7 TioulTfor ' thols e who dwell under the equator, or at the poles. 

3 Strabo's argument seems to be this. It matters but little that there 
may not be Arctic Circles for every latitude, since for the inhabitants of 
the temperate zone they do certainly exist, and these are the only people 
of whom we have any knowledge. But at the same time the objection is 
unanswerable, that as these circles differ in respect to various countries, 
it is quite impossible that they can fix uniformly the limits of the temper- 
ate zone. 

4 The polar circles, where the shadow, in the summer season, travels all 
round in the twenty-four hours. 

5 Those who live north and south of the tropics, or in the temperate 
zones, and at noon have a shadow only falling one way. 

CHAP. in. $ 1. INTRODUCTION. 14o 

the former to the inhabitants of the tropics, and one between 
the tropics, which is called amphiscius, 1 but for matters re- 
lative to the earth, it is convenient to suppose two other nar- 
row zones placed under the tropics, and divided by them into 
two halves, over which [every year] for the space of a 
fortnight, the sun is vertical." 2 These zones are remarkable 
for being exrame_ly arid and sandy, producing noj^egetation 
with the exception of silphium, 3 and a parched grain somewhat 
resembling wheat. This is caused by there being jip^moun- 
tajns to attract the clouds and pn)duce._jcain, nor any rivers 
flowing 4 through the country. The consequence is that the 
various species 5 are born with woolly hair, crumpled horns, 
protrudingjips, and wide nostrilsT their extremities being as 
it were gnarled. Within these zones also dwell the Ichthyo- 
phagi. 6 He further remarks, that these peculiarities are 
quite sufficient to distinguish the zones in question : those 
which are farther south having a more salubrious atmosphere, 
and being more fruitful and better supplied with water. 


1. POLYBIUS supposes six zones: two situated between the 
poles and the arctic circles ; two between the arctic circles 
and the tropics ; and two between the tropics which are di- 
vided by the equator. However, it appears to me that the 

1 Having at mid-day in alternate seasons the shadow falling north and 

2 Viz. Posidonius allowed for each of these small zones a breadth of 
about 30', or 350 stadia, of 700 to a degree. 

3 A plant, the juice of which was used in food and medicine. Bentley 
supposes it to be the asa-foetida, still much eaten as a relish in the East. 

* Posidonius was here mistaken ; witness the Niger, the Senegal, the 
Gambia, &c. 

5 The expression of Strabo is so concise as to leave it extremely doubt- 
ful whether or not he meant to include the human race in his statement. 
Looking at this passage, however, in connexion with another in the 15th 
Book, we are inclined to answer the question in the affirmative. 

8 Or living on fish, a name given by the Greek geographers to various 
tribes of barbarians ; but it seems most frequently to a people of Gedrosia 
on the coast of the Arabian Gulf. It is probably to these that Strabo 

VOL. i. L 

146 STRABO. 


division into five zones accords best both with the order of ex- 
ternal nature and geography. With external nature, as re- 
spects the celestial phenomena, and the temperature of the 
atmosphere. With respect to the celestial phenomena, as the 
Periscii and Amphiscii are thereby divided in the best pos- 
sible manner, and it also forms an excellent line of separation 
in regard to those who behold the stars from an opposite point 
of view. 1 With respect to the temperature of the atmosphere, 
inasmuch as looked at in connexion with the sun, there are 
three main divisions, which influence in a remarkable degree 
both plants, animals, and every other animated thing, existing 
either in the air, or exposed to it, namely, excess of heat, 
want of heat, and a moderate supply of heat. In the division 
into [five] zones, each of these is correctly distinguished. 
The two frigid zones indicate the want of heat, being alike in 
the temperature of their atmosphere ; the temperate zones 
possess a moderate heat, and the remaining, or torrid zone, is 
remarkable for its excess of heat. 

The propriety of this division in regard to geography is 
equally apparent ; the object of this science being to determine 
the limits of that one of the temperate zones which we in- 
habit. To the east and west, it is true, the boundaries are 
formed by the sea, but to the north and south they are in- 
dicated by the atmosphere ; which in the middle is of a grate- 
ful temperature both to animals and plants, but on either 
side is rendered intemperate either through excess or defect 
of heat. To manifest this threefold difference, the division 
of the globe into five zones becomes necessary. In fact, 
the division of the globe, by means of the equator, into two 
hemispheres, the one northern, wherein we dwell, and the 
other southern, points to this threefold division, for the re- 
gions next the equator and torrid zone are uninhabitable on 
account of the heat, those next the poles on account of the 
cold, but those in the middle are mild, and fitted for the habit- 
ation of man. 

Posidonius, in placing two zones under the tropics, pays no 
regard to the reasons which influenced the division into five 
zones, nor is his division equally appropriate. It is no more 
than if he were to form his division into zones merely according 
to the [countries inhabited] by different nations, calling one 
1 Viz. the Heteroscii, or inhabitants of the temperate zones. 


the Ethiopian, another the Scythian and Keltic, 1 and a third 
the Intermediate zone. 

2. Polybius, indeed, is wrong in bounding certain of his 
zones by the arctic circles, 2 namely, the two which lie under 
them, and the two between these and the tropics. The im- 
propriety of using shifting points to mark the limits of those 
which are fixed has been remarked before ; and we have 
likewise objected to the plan of making the tropics the 
boundary of the torrid zone. However, in dividing the 
torrid zone into two parts [Polybius] seems to have been 
influenced by no inconsiderable reason, the same which led 
us to regard the whole earth as properly divided by the equa- 
tor into two hemispheres, north and south. We at once see 
that by means of this division the torrid zone is divided into 
two parts, thus establishing a kind of uniformity ; each hemi- 
sphere consisting of three entire zones, respectively similar to 
each other. Thus this partition 3 will admit of a division 
into six zones, but the other does not allow of it at all. Sup- 
posing you cut the earth into two portions by a line drawn 
through the poles, you can find no sufficient cause for di- 
viding the eastern and western hemispheres into six zones ; 
on the other hand, five would be preferable. For since both 
the portions of the torrid zone, divided by the equator, are 
similar and contiguous to each other, it would seem out of 
place and superfluous to separate them ; whereas the temperate 
and frigid zones respectively resemble each other, although 
lying apart. Wherefore, supposing the whole earth to con- 
sist of these two hemispheres, it is sufficient to divide them 
into five zones. If there be a temperate region under the 
equator, as Eratosthenes asserts, and is admitted by Poly- 
bius, (who adds, that it is the most elevated part of the 
earth, 4 and consequently subject to the drenching rains occa- 

1 The ancients named the people of southern Africa, Ethiopians ; those 
of the north of Asia and Europe, Scythians; and those of the north-west of 
Europe, Kelts. 

2 That is, by arctic circles which differed in respect to various lati- 
tudes. See Book ii. chap. ii. 2, p. 144. 

3 Viz. The partition of the earth into two hemispheres, by means of 
the equator. 

4 Gosselin concludes from this that Eratosthenes and Polybius gave to 
the earth the form of a spheroid flattened at the poles. Other philoso- 
phers supposed it was elongated at the poles, and flattened at the equator. 

L 2 

148 STRABO. BOOK n. 

sioned by the monsoons bringing up from the north innumer- 
able clouds, which discharge themselves on the highest lands,) 
it-would be better to suppose this a third narrow temperate 
zone, than to extend the two temperate zones within the 
circles of the tropics. This supposition is supported by the 
statements of Posidonius, that the course of the sun, whether 
in the ecliptic, or from east to west, appears most rapid in 
the region [of which we are speaking], because the rotations 
of that luminary are performed with a speed increased in 
proportion to the greater size of the circle. 1 

3. Posidonius blames Polybius for asserting that the region 
of the earth, situated under the equator, is the highest, since 
a spherical body being equal all round, no part can be de- 
scribed as high ; and as to mountainous districts, there are 
none under the equator, it is on the contrary a flat country, 
about the same level as the sea ; as for the rains which swell 
the Nile, they descend from the mountains of Ethiopia. Al- 
though advancing this, he afterwards seems to adopt the other 
opinion, for he says that he fancies there may be mountains 
under the equator, around which the clouds assembling from 
both of the temperate zones, produce violent rains. Here is 
one manifest contradiction; again, in stating that the land 
under the equator is mountainous, another contradiction ap- 
pears. For they say that the ocean is confluent, how then 
can they place mountains in the midst of it ? unless they 
mean to say that there are islands. However, whether such 
be the fact does not lie within the province of geography to 
determine, the inquiry would better be left to him who makes 
the ocean in particular his study. 

4. Posidonius, in speaking of those who have sailed round 
Africa, tells us that Herodotus was of opinion that some of those 
sent out by Darius actually performed this enterprise; 2 and 

1 Gosselin justly observes that this passage, which is so concise as to 
appear doubtful to some, is properly explained by a quotation from Ge- 
minus, which states the arguments adduced by Polybius for believing that 
there was a temperate region within the torrid zones. 

2 Strabo seems to confound the account (Herodotus iv. 44) of the ex- 
pedition sent by Darius round southern Persia and Arabia with the cir- 
cumnavigation of Libya, (Herod, iv. 4'2,) which Necho II. confided to 
the Phosnicians about 600 B. c., commanding them distinctly " to return 
to Egypt through the passage of the Pillars of Hercules." See Humboldt's 
Cosmos, ii. 4b8, note, Bonn's edition. 


that Heraclides of Pontus, in a certain dialogue, introduces 
one of the Magi presenting himself to Gelon, 1 and declaring 
that he had performed this voyage ; but he remarks that this 
wants proof. He also narrates how a certain Eudoxus of 
Cyzicus, 2 sent with sacrifices and oblations to the Corean 
games, 3 travelled into Egypt in the reign of Euergetes II. ; 4 
and being a learned man, and much interested in the pecu- 
liarities of different countries, he made interest with the king 
and his ministers on the subject, but especially for exploring 
the Nile. It chanced that a certain Indian was brought to the 
king by the [coastj-guard of the Arabian Gulf. They reported 
that they had found him in a ship, alone, and half dead: but 
that they neither knew who he was, nor where he came from, 
as he spoke a language they could not understand. He was 
placed in the hands of preceptors appointed to teach him the 
Greek language. On acquiring which, he related how he had 
started from the coasts of India, but lost his course, and 
reached Egypt alone, all his companions having perished with 
hunger ; but that if he were restored to his country he would 
point out to those sent with him by the king, the route by sea 
to India. Eudoxus was of the number thus sent. He set 
sail with a good supply of presents, and brought back with 
him in exchange aromatics and precious stones, some of which 
the Indians collect from amongst the pebbles of the rivers, 
others they dig out of the earth, where they have been formed 
by the moisture, as crystals are formed with us. 5 

[He fancied that he had made his fortune], however, he 
was greatly deceived, for Euergetes took possession of the 
whole treasure. On the death of that prince, his widow, 
Cleopatra, 6 assumed the reins of government, and Eudoxus 
was again despatched with a richer cargo than before. On 

1 Gelon, tyrant of Syracuse, flourished towards the end of the fifth 
century before Christ. 

2 The ruins of this city still preserve the name of Cyzik. It was 
situated on the peninsula of Artaki, on the south of the Sea of Marmora. 

3 Games in honour of Proserpine, or Cora. 

4 Ptolemy VII., king of Egypt, also styled Euergetes II.; he is more 
commonly known by the surname of Physcon. His reign commenced 
B. c. 170. 

5 The ancients believed that crystals consisted of water which had been 
frozen by excessive cold, and remained congealed for centuries. Vide 
Pliny, lib. xxxvii. c. 9. 

6 Cleopatra, besides being the wife, was also the niece of Ptolemy, 

150 STRABO. 


his journey back, he was carried by the winds above Ethi- 
opia, and being thrown on certain [unknown] regions, he 
conciliated the inhabitants by presents of grain, wine, and 
cakes of pressed figs, articles which they were without; 
receiving in exchange a supply of water, and guides for the 
journey. He also wrote down several words of their lan- 
guage, and having found the end of a prow, with a horse 
carved on it, which he was told formed part of the wreck 
of a vessel coming from the west, he took it with him, and 
proceeded on his homeward course. He arrived safely in 
Egypt, where no longer Cleopatra, but her son, 1 ruled ; but 
he was again stripped of every thing on the accusation of 
having appropriated to his own uses a large portion of the 
merchandise sent out. 

However, he carried the prow into the market-place, and 
exhibited it to the pilots, who recognised it as being come 
from Gades. 2 The merchants [of that place] employing 
large vessels, but the lesser traders small ships, which they 
style horses, from the figures of that animal borne on the 
prow, and in which they go out fishing around Maurusia, 3 as 
far as the Lixus. 4 Some of the pilots professed to recognise 
the prow as that of a vessel which had sailed beyond the river 
Lixus, but had not returned. 5 

From this Eudoxus drew the conclusion, that it was possi- 
ble to circumnavigate Libya; he therefore returned home, 
and having collected together the whole of his substance, set 
out on his travels. First he visited Dicsearchia, 6 and then 
Marseilles, and afterwards traversed the whole coast as far as 
Gades. Declaring his enterprise everywhere as he journeyed, 
he gathered money sufficient to equip a great ship, and two 
boats, resembling those used by pirates. On board these he 
placed singing girls, physicians, and artisans of various kinds, 

being the offspring of his former wife, whom he had divorced, by her 
former marriage with Philometor. 

' Ptolemy VIII. was nominally king, but his mother Cleopatra still 
held most of the real authority in her hands. 2 Cadiz. 

3 Western Mauritania, the modern kingdom of Fez. 

4 This river is now named Lucos, and its mouth, which is about 30 
leagues distant from Cadiz, is called Larais or Larache. 

5 Humboldt, Cosmos ii. 489, note, mentions the remains of a ship of 
the Red Sea having been brought to the coast of Crete by westerly currents. 

Pozzuolo, close by Naples. 


and launching into open sea, was carried towards India by 
steady westerly winds. 1 However, they who accompanied 
him becoming wearied with the voyage, steered their course 
towards land, but much against his will, as he dreaded the 
force of the ebb and flow. What he feared actually occurred. 
The ship grounded, but gently, so that it did not break up at 
once, but fell to pieces gradually, the goods and much of the 
timber of the ship being saved. With these he built a third 
vessel, closely resembling a ship of fifty oars, and continuing 
his voyage, came amongst a people who spoke the same lan- 
guage as that some words of which he had on a former occa- 
sion committed to writing. He further discovered, that they 
were men of the same stock as those other Ethiopians, and 
also resembled those of the kingdom of Bogus. 2 However, 
he abandoned his [intended] voyage to India, and returned 
home. On his voyage back he observed an uninhabited island, 
well watered and wooded, and carefully noted its position. 
Having reached Maurusia in safety, he disposed of his ves- 
sels, and travelled by land to the court of Bogus. He recom- 
mended that sovereign to undertake an expedition thither. 

This, however, was prevented on account of the fear of the 
[king's] advisers, lest the district should chance to expose them 
to treachery, by making known a route by which foreigners 
might come to attack them. Eudoxus, however, became aware, 
that although it was given out that he was himself to be sent 
on this proposed expedition, the real intent was to aban- 
don him on some desert island. He therefore fled to the 
Roman territory, and passed thence into Iberia. Again, he 
equipped two vessels, one round and the other long, furnished 
with fifty oars, the latter framed for voyaging in the high seas, 
the other for coasting along the shores. He placed on board 
agricultural implements, seed, and builders, and hastened on 
the same voyage, determined, if it should prove too long, to 
winter on the island he had before observed, sow his seed, 

1 Gosselin observes, that this steady westerly wind, so far from carry- 
ing him towards India, would be entirely adverse to him in coasting along 
Africa, and doubling Cape Bojador ; and infers from hence that Eudoxus 
never really went that expedition, and that Strabo himself was ignorant 
of the true position of Africa. 

2 A name common to many sovereigns of the different parts of Mauri- 
tania ; the king Bogus, or Bocchus, here spoken of, governed the king- 
dom of Fez. 



and having reaped the harvest, complete the expedition he 
had intended from the beginning. 

5. " Thus far," says Posidonius, " I have followed the history 
of Eudoxus. What happened afterwards is probably known 
to the people of Gades and Iberia ;" " but," says he, " all these 
things only demonstrate more clearly the fact, that the in- 
habited earth is entirely surrounded by the ocean." 

" By no continent fettered in, 
But boundless in its flow, and free from soil." 

Posidonius is certainly a most strange writer ; he considers 
that the voyage of the Magus, 1 related by Heraclides, wants 
sufficient evidence, and also the account given by Herodotus 
of those sent out [to explore] by Darius. But this Bergcean 2 
nonsense, either the coinage of his own brain, or of some other 
story-teller, in whom he trusts, he pretends to be worthy of 
our belief. But in the first place, what is there credible in this 
tale of the Indian missing his way ? The Arabian Gulf, which 
resembles a river, is narrow, and in length is from 5000 to 
10,000 stadia up to its mouth, where it is narrowest of all. It 
is not likely that the Indians in their voyage out would have en- 
tered this Gulf by mistake. The extreme narrowness of the 
mouth must have warned them of their error. And if they en- 
tered it voluntarily, then there was no excuse for introducing 
the pretext of mistake and uncertain winds. And how did they 
suffer all of themselves but one to perish through hunger ? And 
how was it that this surviver was able to manage the ship, which 
could not have been a small one either, fitted as it was for 
traversing such vast seas ? What must have been his apti- 
tude in learning the language of the country, and thus being 
able to persuade the king of his competence, as leader of the 
expedition ? And how came it that Euergetes was in want of 
such guides, so many being already acquainted with this 'sea ? 
How was it that he who was sent by the inhabitants of Cy- 
zicus to carry libations and sacrifices, should forsake his city 
and sail for India ? How was it that so great an affair was 

1 Round Africa. 

2 A term by which incredible narrations were designated. It owes its 
origin to Antiphanes, a writer born at Berge, a city of Thrace, and famous 
for trumping up false and auld- world stories. 'Btpyai&tv, was a pro- 
verbial and polite term for lying. 


intrusted to him ? And how came it that on his return, after 
being deprived of every thing contrary to expectation, and 
disgraced, a yet larger cargo of goods was intrusted to him ? 
And when he had again returned into Ethiopia, what cause 
induced him to write down the words, or to inquire whence 
came the portion of the prow of the boat ? For to learn that 
it was a ship of some sailing from the west, would have been 
no information to him, as he himself would have to sail from the 
west on his voyage back. When, on his return to Alexandria, 
he was detected in having appropriated to himself much of 
the merchandise, how came it that he was not punished, but 
allowed to go about interrogating the pilots, and exhibiting 
his bit of prow ? And that one of these fellows actually re- 
cognised the relic, is it not delicious ! Eudoxus too believed it, 
this is still richer ; and inspired by the hope, hastens home, 
and then starts on a voyage beyond the Pillars of Hercules ! 
But he could never have left Alexandria without a pass- 
port, still less after having stolen the royal property. To set 
sail on the sly was impossible, as the port and every other 
exit was kept by a numerous guard, which still exists, as we 
very well know who have lived in Alexandria for a long time, 
although it is not so strict since the Romans have had posses- 
sion, but under the kings the guards were infinitely more alert. 
But allowing that he reached Gades, that he there constructed 
ships, and sailed thence with quite a royal fleet, when his vessel 
was shattered, by what means was he able to construct a third 
boat in a desert land ? And when, being again on his voyage, he 
found that the Ethiopians of the West spoke the same language 
as those of the East, how came it that he, so proud of his 
travelling propensities, forgot the completion of his voyage, 
when he must have had so good an expectation that there 
was but little now left unexplored, but relinquishing these 
prospects, set his mind on the expedition being undertaken 
by Bogus ? HOAV did he become acquainted with the snare 
spread for him by that king ? And what advantage would 
have accrued to Bogus by making away with the man, rather 
than by dismissing him ? When Eudoxus learned the plot 
against himself, what means had he to- escape to safer quar- 
ters ? It is true that not one of these situations was actually 
impossible, but still they were difficult circumstances, such as 
one rarely escapes from by any prosperous fortune. How- 


<ys came off with good luck, notwithstanding he 
of danger. Besides this, how did it happen, that 
ed from Bogus, he was not afraid to sail round 
nd time, with all the requisites for taking up his 
aDoae on me island ? All this too closely resembles the false- 
hoods of Pytheas, Euhemerus, and Antiphanes. They how- 
ever may be pardoned ; for their only aim was that of the 
juggler. But who can forgive a demonstrator and philoso- 
pher, and one too striving to be at the head of their order ? it 
is really too bad ! 

6. However, he is right in attributing to earthquakes and 
other similar causes, which we also have enumerated, the 
risings, slips, and changes which at various periods come over 
the earth. He did well, too, in citing the opinion of Plato, 
" that the tradition concerning the Island of Atlantis might 
be received as something more than a mere fiction, it having 
been related by Solon on the authority of the Egyptian priests, 
that tnis island, almost as large, as a. continent- wn.a formerly 
in existence, although now: it had^disappeared." Posidonius 
thinks it better to quote this than to say, " He who brought it 
into existence can also cause it to disappear, as the poet did 
the wall of the Achivi." l He (Posidonius) is also of opinion 
that the emigration of the Cimbrians and other kindred races 
from their native territory, was gradual, and occasioned by 
the inundation of the sea, and by no means a sudden move- 
ment. 2 He supposes that the length of the inhabited earth is 
about 70,000 stadia, being the half of the whole circle on 
which it is taken ; so that, says he, starting from the west, 
one might, aided by a continual east wind, reach India in so 
many thousand stadia. 

7. Next he undertakes to find fault with those who gave 

1 The wall mentioned in Iliad, vii. 436, et seq. Gosselin says that 
in the time of Aristotle the commentators of the Iliad, having vainly 
sought for the ruins or other traces of the wall, the Philosopher came 
to the conclusion that the wall was altogether a fiction of Homer's. 
Strabo speaks further on this subject in the 13th Book. 

2 As the above assertion is at variance with the statement of Strabo, 
in his 7th Book, concerning Posidonius's views on this subject, it seems 
probable that the passage as it stands is corrupt. It is more likely 
Strabo wrote, " It is the opinion of Posidonius that the emigration of the 
Cimbrians and other kindred races from their native territory was not 
occasioned by an inundation of the sea, since their departure took place 
at various times." 


to the continents their present division, instead of marking 
them out by lines drawn parallel to the equator, by which 
means the different animals, plants, and temperatures would 
have been distinguished, according as they approached the 
frigid or the torrid zones ; so that each continent would have 
formed a kind of zone. Afterwards, however, he overturns 
and gives up altogether this view, bestowing every commend- 
ation on the existing system, and thus making his argument 
altogether worthless and of no avail. | In fact, the va- 
rious arrangements [of a country] are not the result of pre- 
meditation, any more than the diversities of nations or lan- 
guages ; they all depend on circumstances and chance. Arts, 
forms of government, and modes of life, arising from certain 
[internal] springs, flourish under whatever climate they may 
be situated ; climate, however, has its influence, and therefore 
while some peculiarites are due to the nature of the country, 
others are the result of institutions and education. It is not 
owing to the nature of the country, but rather to their educa- 
tion, that the Athenians cultivate eloquence, while the Lace- 
daemonians do not ; nor yet the Thebans, who are nearer still. 
Neither are the Babylonians and Egyptians philosophers by 
nature, but by reason of their institutions and education. In 
like manner the excellence of horses, oxen, and other animals, 
results not alone from the places where they dwell, but also 
from their breeding. Posidonius confounds all these distinc- 
tions. 7 

In praising the division of the continents as it now stands, 
he advances as an argument the difference between the In- 
dians and the Ethiopians of Libya, the former being more 
robust, and less dried by the heat of the climate. It is on this 
account that Homer, who includes them all under the title of 
Ethiopians, describes them as being separated into two divi- 

" These eastward situate, those toward the west." 1 

[Crates], to support his hypothesis, supposes another inhabited 
earth, of which Homer certainly knew nothing ; and says that 
the passage ought to be read thus, " towards the descending 
sun," viz. when having passed the meridian, it begins to de- 

1 Odyssey i. 23. 


8. First, then, the Ethiopians next Egypt are actually se- 
parated into two divisions ; one part being in Asia, the other 
in Libya, otherwise there is no distinction between them. But 
it was not on this account that Homer divided the Ethiopians, 
nor yet because he was acquainted with the physical supe- 
riority of the Indians, (for it is not probable that Homer had 
the slightest idea of the Indians, since, according to the asser- 
tion of Eudoxus, Euergetes was both ignorant of India, and of 
the voyage thither,) but his division rather resulted from the 
cause we formerly mentioned. We have shown that as for 
the alteration of Crates, it makes no difference whether it be 
read so or not. Posidonius, however, says that it does make 
a difference, and would be better altered into " towards the 
descending [sun]." But in what can this be said to differ 
from " towards the west," since the whole section of the he- 
misphere west of the meridian is styled " the west," not only 
the mere semicircle of the horizon. This is manifested by the 
following expression of Aratus, 

" Where the extremities of the west and east blend together." l 
However, if the reading of Posidonius be preferable to that of 
Crates, any one may likewise claim for it a superiority over 
that of Aristarchus. So much for Posidonius. There are, how- 
ever, many particulars relating to Geography, which we shall 
bring under discussion ; others relating to Physics, which 
must be examined elsewhere, or altogether disregarded ; for 
he is much too fond of imitating Aristotle's propensity for 
diving into causes, a subject which we [Stoics] scrupulously 
avoid, simply because of the extreme darkness in which all 
causes are enveloped. 


1. POLYBIUS, in his Chorography of Europe, tells us that it is 
not his intention to examine the writings of the ancient geo- 
graphers, but the statements of those who have criticised them, 

1 Aratus, who lived about B. c. 270, was the author of two Greek 
astronomical poems, called ^aivofisva and Aioa^t/a. It is from the 
former of these that the above quotation is taken. Aratus, PhaDnom. v. 61. 


such as Diccearchus, Eratosthenes, (who was the last of those 
who [in his time] had laboured on geography,) and Pytheas, 
by svhom many have been deceived. It is this last writer 
who states that he travelled all over Britain on foot, and that 
the island is above 40,000 stadia in circumference. It is like- 
wise he who describes Thule and other neighbouring places, 
where, according to him, neither earth, water, nor air exist, 
separately, but a sort of concretion of all these, resembling 
marine sponge, in which the earth, the sea, and all things 
were suspended, thus forming, as it were, a link to unite the 
whole together. It can neither be travelled over nor sailed 
through. As for the substance, he affirms that he has beheld 
it with his own eyes ; the rest, he reports on the authority o*f 
others. So much for the statements of Pytheas, who tells us, 
besides, that after he had returned thence, he traversed the 
whole coasts of Europe from Gades to the Don. 

2. Polybius asks, " How is it possible that a private indi- 
vidual, and one too in narrow circumstances, could ever have 
performed such vast expeditions by sea and land ? And how 
could Eratosthenes, who hesitates whether he may rely on his 
statements in general, place such entire confidence in what 
that writer narrates concerning Britain, Gades, and Iberia?" 
says he, " it would have been better had Eratosthenes trusted 
to the Messenian 1 rather than to this writer. The former 

1 Evemerus, or Euhemerus, a Sicilian author of the time of Alexander 
the Great and his immediate successors, and a native of Messina. He is 
said to have sailed down the Red Sea and round the southern coasts of 
Asia to a very great distance, until he came to an island called Pancheca. 
After his return from this voyage, he wrote a work entitled 'Ispa 'Ava~ 
ypaQr], which consisted of at least nine books. The title of this " Sacred 
History," as we may call it, was taken from the avaypcr^at, or the in- 
scriptions on columns and walls, which existed in great numbers in the 
temples of Greece ; and Euhemerus chose it, because he pretended to have 
derived his information from public documents of that kind, which he 
had discovered in his travels, especially in the island of Panchsea. The 
work contained accounts of the several gods, whom Euhemerus represented 
as having originally been men who had distinguished themselves either 
as warriors, kings, inventors, or benefactors of mankind, and who, after 
their death, were worshipped as gods by the grateful people. This book, 
which seems to have been w r ritten in a popular style, must have been 
very attractive ; for all the fables of mythology were dressed up in it as 
so many true narratives ; and many of the subsequent-historians adopted 
his mode of dealing with myths, or at least followed in his track, as we 
rind to be the case with Polybius and Dionysius. Vide Smith. 

158 STRABO. 


merely pretends to have sailed into one [unknown] country, 
viz. Panchaea, but the latter, that he has visited the whole of 
the north of Europe as far as the ends of the earth ; which 
statement, even had it been made by Mercury, we should not 
have believed. Nevertheless Eratosthenes, who terms Euhe- 
merus a Bergaean, gives credit to Pytheas, although even 
Diccearchus would not believe him." 

This argument, " although even Dica3archus would not be- 
lieve him," is ridiculous, just as if Eratosthenes ought to take 
for his standard a writer whom Polybius is himself for ever 
complaining of. 1 

The ignorance of Eratosthenes respecting the western and 
northern portions of Europe, we have before remarked. But 
both he and Dicaearchus must be pardoned for this, as neither 
of them were personally familiar with those localities. But 
how can one excuse Polybius and Posidonius ? especially Po- 
lybius, who treats as mere hearsay what Eratosthenes and 
Dicaearchus report concerning the distances of various places ; 
and many other matters, about which, though he blames them, 
he is not himself free from error. Dicaearchus states that 
there are 10,000 stadia from the Peloponnesus to the Pillars, 
and something above this number from the Peloponnesus to 
the recess of the Adriatic. 2 He supposes 3000 stadia between 
the Peloponnesus and the Strait of Sicily ; thus there would 
remain 7000 between the Strait of Sicily and the Pillars. 3 

" I will not inquire," says Polybius, " whether the statement 
concerning the 3000 stadia is correct or not, but 7000 stadia 

1 Every one will observe, that this criticism of Strabo is entirely gra- 
tuitous and captious. Polybius cites Dicaearchus as a most credulous 
writer, but states that even he would not believe Pytheas : how then 
could so distinguished a writer as Eratosthenes put faith in his non- 
sense ? 

2 On the contrary, the distance in a right line from Cape Tenarum, off 
the Peloponnesus, to the recess of the Adriatic Gulf, is only about half 
the distance from the Peloponnesus to the Pillars of Hercules. This 
mistake of Dicsearchus is a proof of the very slight acquaintance the 
Greeks could have had with the western portions of the Mediterranean 
in his time, about 320 years before the Christian era. 

3 Literally, " He assigns 3000 to the interval which stretches towards 
the Pillars as far as the Strait, and 7000 from the Strait to the Pillars." 
The distance from Cape Tenarum to the Strait of Messina is in pro- 
portion to the distance from the Strait of Messina to Gibraltar, about 
3 to 10, not 3 to 7, as given by Dicaearchus. 


is not the correct measure [from the Strait of Messina to tfie 
Pillars of Hercules], whether taken along the sea-shore, or 
right across the sea. The coast closely resembles an obtuse 
angle, one side reaching to the Strait of Sicily, the other to 
the Pillars, the vertex being Narbonne. Now lei a triangle 
be constructed, having for its base a right line drawn through 
the sea, and its sides forming the aforementioned angle. The 
side reaching from the Strait of Sicily to Narbonne is above 
1 1,200 stadia, while the other is below 8000. Now the great- 
est distance from Europe to Libya, across the Tyrrhenian 
Sea, 1 is not above 3000 stadia, and across the Sea of Sar- 
dinia 2 it is less still. But supposing that it too is 3000 stadia, 
add to this 2000 stadia, the depth of the bay at Narbonne, 
as a perpendicular from the vertex to the base of the obtuse- 
angled triangle. It will, then, be clear even to the geo- 
metrical powers of a child, that the entire coast from the Strait 
of Sicily to the Pillars, does not exceed by more than 500 
stadia the right line drawn across the sea ; adding to these 
the 3000 stadia from the Peloponnesus to the Strait of Sicily, 
the whole taken together will give a straight line 3 above 
double the length assigned by Dica3archus -, and, according to 
his system, you must add in addition to these the stadia at the 
recess of the Adriatic." 

3. True, dear Polybius, (one might say,) this error [of Di- 
casarchus] is manifested by the proof which you yourself 
have given when you inform us that from the Peloponnesus 
to Leucas 4 there are 700 stadia ; from thence to Corcyra 5 the 
same number ; and the same number again from Corcyra to 
the Ceraunian Mountains; 6 and from the Ceraunian Moun- 
tains to lapygia, 7 following the coast of Illyria on the right, 
6150 stadia. 8 But the statement of Dicrearchus, that the 

1 That part of the Mediterranean which lies on the coast of Italy, 
from the mouth of the Arno to Naples. 

2 The sea which washes the western coast of Sardinia. 

J Viz. from the Peloponnesus to the Pillars of Hercules. 
* Santa Maura, an island in the Ionian Sea. 6 Corfu. 

6 The mountains of Chimera, forming the Cape della Linguetta on the 
coast of Albania. 

7 The maritime portion of Liburnia, comprised between the coasts of 
Dalmatia and Istria. It is now comprehended in the district of Murlaka. 

8 In all 6250 stadia. 

160 STRABO. 


distance from the Strait of Sicily to the Pillars is 7000 stadia, 
and also your view of the matter, are both of them equally 
incorrect. For almost every one is agreed that the distance 
measured straight across the sea is 12,000 stadia, and this co- 
incides with the received calculation of the length of the in- 
habited earth, which is estimated at above 70,000 stadia ; the 
western portion of this from the Gulf of Issus l to the ex- 
treme western point of Iberia is little less than 30,000 stadia, 
and is thus calculated : from the Gulf of Issus to Rhodes 5000 
stadia ; from thence to Cape Salmonium, 2 which forms the 
eastern extremity of Crete, 1000; the length of Crete to 
Criu-metopon 3 above 2000; thence to Cape Pachynus 4 in 
Sicily 4500, and from Pachynus to the Strait of Sicily above 
1000 stadia; the run from the Strait to the Pillars 12,000; 
and lastly, from the Pillars to the extremity of the said pro- 
montory 5 of Iberia, about 3000 stadia. 6 

In addition to this, the perpendicular 7 is not correct, sup- 
posing it true that Narbonne lies under almost the same pa- 
rallel as Marseilles, and that this latter place is under the 
same parallel as Byzantium ; which is the opinion of Hippar- 
chus. Now the line drawn across the sea lies under the same 
parallel as the Strait [of the Pillars] and Rhodes ; and the dis- 
tance from Rhodes to Byzantium, which both lie under the same 
meridian, is estimated at about 5000 stadia; to which the 
above-mentioned perpendicular ought to be equal. But since 
they say that from the recess of the Galatic Gulf, the great- 
est distance across the sea from Europe to Libya is 5000 
stadia, it seems to me that either there is some error in this 
statement, or that at this point Libya must incline very much 
to the north, and so come under the same parallel as the Pil- 
lars. Polybius is likewise mistaken in telling us that this 
said perpendicular terminates close to Sardinia ; for instead 
of being close to Sardinia, it is far west thereof, having 
almost the whole of the sea of Liguria 8 between it and that 

1 Issus, now Aias, a town of Cilicia on the confines of Syria, famous 
for the battle between Alexander the Great and Darius, in consequence 
of which it was called Nicopolis. 

2 Salamoni. 3 Cape Krio. 

4 Cape Passaro. 5 Cape St. Vincent. 

6 Total 28,500 stadia. 7 Spoken of by Polybius. 

8 The Gulf of Genoa. 

CHAP. iv. 4, 5. INTRODUCTION. 161 

island. Besides this he makes the length of the sea-coast too 
great ; but this [error] is not so considerable [as the two 

4. After this Polybius proceeds to set right the mistakes of 
Eratosthenes. In this he is sometimes successful ; at others 
his corrections are for the worse. For example, Eratos- 
thenes gives 300 stadia from Ithaca to Corcyra; Poly- 
bius makes it above 900. From Epidamnus to Thessa- 
lonica Eratosthenes allows 900 stadia ; Polybius says above 
2000. In these instances he is correct. But where Era- 
tosthenes states that from Marseilles to the Pillars there 
are 7000 stadia, and from the Pyrenees [to the same place] 
6000, and Polybius alters this to more than 9000 from Mar- 
seilles, and little less than 8000 from the Pyrenees, 1 he is 
quite mistaken, and not so near to the truth as Eratos- 
thenes. For all are now agreed that, barring the indirect- 
ness of the roads, the whole length of Iberia is not more 
than 6000 stadia 2 from the Pyrenees to its western limits; 
notwithstanding Polybius gives 8000 stadia for the length 
of the river Tagus, from its source to its outlets, and this 
in a straight line without any reference to its sinuosities, 
which in fact never enter into the geographical estimate, 
although the sources of the Tagus are above 1000 stadia from 
the Pyrenees. His remark is quite correct, that Eratosthenes 
knew little about Iberia, and on this account sometimes 
makes conflicting statements concerning it. He tells us, for 
example, that the portion of this country situated on the sea- 
coast as far as Gades is inhabited by Galatse, 3 who possess 
western Europe as far as Gades ; nevertheless, in his account 
of Iberia he seems quite to have forgotten this, and makes 
no mention of these Galatae whatever. 

5. Again, however, Polybius makes an incorrect assertion, 
in stating that the whole length of Europe is unequal to that 
of Africa and Asia taken together. He tells us " that the en- 

1 These measures are taken along the coast, in stadia of 700 to a de- 
gree. Of these, from Marseilles to Gibraltar there are 9300, and from 
the ancient promontory of Pyrenseum to Gibraltar 7380. Consequently 
the corrections of Polybius were neither inaccurate nor uncalled for. 

2 These 6000 stadia, taken in a direct line, are just the distance from 
Cape St. Vincent to the chain of the Pyrenees. 

3 Kelts. 

16'2 STRABO. 


trance at the Pillars corresponds in direction to the equinoctial 
west, and that the Don flows from the summer rising, con- 
sequently the length of Europe is less than that of Asia and 
Africa taken together by the space between the summer rising l 
and the equinoctial rising, 2 since Asia occupies the eastern 
portion of the northern semicircle. Now, in addition to 
the obscurity which Polybius throws over subjects which 
might have been simply stated, it is false that the river 
Don flows from the summer rising. For all who are ac- 
quainted with these localities inform us that this river flows 
from the north into the Mseotis, so that the mouth of the 
river lies under the same meridian as that of the Mseotis ; 
and so in fact does the whole river as far as is known. 3 

6. Equally unworthy of credit is the statement of those 
who tell us, that the Don rises in the vicinity of the Danube, 
and flows from the west ; they do not remember that between 
these are the Dniester, the Dnieper, and the Bog, all great 
rivers, which flow [into the Euxine Sea] ; one runs parallel to 
the Danube, the other two to the Don. Now if at the present 
day we are ignorant of the sources both of the Dniester, and also 
of the Dnieper and Bog, the regions farther north must cer- 
tainly be still less known. It is therefore a fictitious and 
idle assertion, that the Don crosses these rivers, and then 
turns northward on its way to discharge itself into the 
Masotis, it being well known that the outlets to this river are 
in the most northern and eastern portions of the lake. 4 

No less idle is the statement which has also been advanced, 
that the Don, after crossing the Caucasus, flows northward; 
and then turns towards the Moeotis. 5 No one, however, [with 
the exception of Polybius,] made this river flow from the east. 
If such were its course, our best geographers would never 

1 The rising of the sun in summer. 2 The east. 

3 This- is an error into which Strabo fell with most of the ancient geo- 
graphers. The course of the Don certainly begins from the north, but 
afterwards it turns eastward, and then suddenly shifts to the west. So 
that its entire course as known in the time of Strabo, differed from the 
Palus Mseotis and Sea of Azof by about 9 degrees of longitude. Polybius 
is here more exact than Strabo. 

4 Palus Meeotis. 

5 This was the opinion of Theophanes of Mytilene, who followed Pom- 
pey in his expeditions to the East. The Caucasus here mentioned is that 
which bounds Georgia in the north, and from whence the modern river 
Kuban (the Vardanus of Pompey) takes its rise. This river does incline 

CHAP. iv. 7,8. INTRODUCTION. 163 

have told us that its direction was contrary to that of the 
Nile, and, so to speak, diametrically opposite thereto, as if the 
course of both rivers lay under the same meridian. 

7. Further, the length of the inhabited earth is measured 
on a line parallel with the equator, as it is in this direction 
that its greatest length lies : in the same way with respect 
to each of the continents, we must take their length as it lies 
between two meridians. The measure of these lengths con- 
sists of a certain number of stadia, which we obtain either 
by going over the places themselves, or roads or ways parallel 
thereto. Polybius abandons this method, and adopts the new 
way of taking the segment of the northern semicircle com- 
prised between the summer rising and the equinoctial rising. 
But no one ought to calculate by variable rules or measures 
in determining the length of fixed distances : nor yet should 
he make use of the phenomena of the heavens, which appear 
different when observed from different points, for distances 
which have their length determined by themselves and re- 
main unchanged. The length of a country never varies, 
but depends upon itself; whereas, the equinoctial rising and 
setting, and the summer and winter rising and setting, de- 
pend not on themselves, but on our position [with respect, 
to them]. As we shift from place to place, the equinoctial 
rising and setting, and the winter and summer rising and 
setting, shift with us ; but the length 'of a continent always 
remains the same. To make the Don and the Nile the bounds 
of these continents, is nothing out of the way, but it is some- 
thing strange to employ for this purpose the equinoctial rising 
and the summer rising. 

8. Of the many promontories formed by Europe, a better de- 
scription is given by Polybius than by Eratosthenes ; but even 
his is not sufficient. Eratosthenes only names three ; one at 
the Pillars of Hercules, where Iberia is situated ; a second at 
the Strait of Sicily, and containing Italy ; the third termin- 
ated by the Cape of Malea, 1 comprising all the countries situ- 
ated between the Adriatic, the Euxine, and the Don. The 
two former of these Polybius describes in the same manner 

slightly to the north, and afterwards turns westward in its course to the 
Palus Maoris. It is possible that some confusion between this river and 
the Don gave occasion to the belief that the latter rose in the Caucasus. 
1 Cape Malio, in the Morea. See also Humboldt's Cosmos ii. 482. 
M '2 

164 STRABO. 


as Eratosthenes, but the third, which is equally terminated 
by the Cape of Malea 1 and Cape Sunium, 2 [he makes to] 
comprehend the whole of Greece, Illyria, and some portion 
of Thrace. [He supposes] a fourth, containing the Thracian 
Chersonesus and the countries contiguous to the Strait, 3 be- 
twixt Sestos and Abydos. This is occupied by the Thracians. 
Also a fifth, about the Kimmerian Bosphorus and the mouth 
of the Maeotis. Let us allow [to Polybius] his two former 
[promontories], they are clearly distinguished by unmistake- 
able bays; the first by the bay between Calpe 4 and the Sacred 
Promontory 5 where Gades 6 is situated, as also by the sea 
between the Pillars and Sicily ; the second 7 by the latter sea 
and the Adriatic, 8 although it may be objected that the ex- 
tremity of lapygia, 9 being a promontory in itself, causes 
Italy to have a double cape. But as for the remaining [pro- 
montories of Polybius], they are plainly much more irregular, 
and composed of many parts, and require some other division. 
So likewise his plan of dividing [Europe] into six parts, 
similar to that of the promontories, is liable to objection. 

However, we will set to rights each of these errors sepa- 
rately, as we meet with them, as well as the other blunders 
into which he has fallen in his description of Europe, and the 
journey round Africa. For the present we think that we have 
sufficiently dwelt on those of our predecessors whom we have 
thought proper to introduce as testimonies in our behalf, that 
both in the matter of correction and addition we had ample 
cause to undertake the present work. 

1 Cape Malio. Gosselin is of opinion that some omission has occurred 
in this passage, and proposes to substitute the following: "The two 
former of these Polybius describes in the same manner as Eratosthenes, 
but he subdivides the third. He comprehends within Cape Malea all 
the Peloponnesus ; within Cape Sunium the whole of Greece, Illyria, 
and a part of Thrace." 

2 Cape Colonna. 3 The Strait of the Dardanelles. 

4 The Rock of Gibraltar. 5 Cape St. Vincent. 6 Cadiz. 

7 The Italian Promontory. 8 The Gulf of Venice. 

9 Capo di Leuca. 

CHAP. v. & 1. INTRODUCTION. 167 


1. AFTER these criticisms on the writers who have pre- 
ceded us, we must now confine our attention to the ful- 
filment of our promise. We start with a maxim we laid 
down at the commencement, that whoever undertakes to 
write a Chorography, should receive as axioms certain phy- 
sical and mathematical propositions, and frame the rest of 
his work in accordance with, and in full reliance on, these 
principles. We have already stated [our opinion], that 
neither builder nor architect could build house or city pro- 
perly and as it ought to be, unless acquainted with the clima 
of the place, its position in respect to celestial appearances, 
its shape, magnitude, degree of heat and cold, and similar 
facts ; much less should he [be without such information] who 
undertakes to describe the situation of the various regions of 
the inhabited earth. 

Represent to the mind on one and the same plane-surface 
Iberia and India with the intermediate countries, and define 
likewise the west, the east, and the south, which are common 
to every country. To a man already acquainted with the ar- 
rangement and motions of the heavens, and aware that in 
reality the surface of the earth is spherical, although here for 
the sake of illustration represented as a plane, this will give a 
sufficiently exact idea of the geographical [position of the va- 
rious countries], but not to one who is unacquainted with those 
matters. The tourist travelling over vast plains like those of 
Babylon, or journeying by sea, may fancy that the whole 
country stretched before, behind, and on either side of him is 
a plane-surface ; he may be unacquainted with the counter- 
indications of the celestial phenomena, and with the motions 
and appearance of the sun and stars, in respect to us. But 
such facts as these should ever be present to the mind of 
those who compose Geographies, The traveller, whether 
by sea or land, is directed by certain common appearances, 
which answer equally for the direction both of the unlearned 
and of the man of the world. Ignorant of astronomy, and 
unacquainted with the varied aspect of the heavens, he be- 


rise and set, and attain the meridian, but with- 
how this takes place. Such knowledge could 
Ibject he has in view, any more than to know 
the country he chances to be in may be under the 
same latitude as his own or not. Even should he bestow a 
slight attention to the subject, on all mathematical points he 
will adopt the opinions of the place ; and every country has 
certain mistaken views of these matters. But it is not for 
any particular nation, nor for the man of the world who cares 
nothing for abstract mathematics, still less is it for the reaper 
or ditcher, that the geographer labours ; but it is for him who 
is convinced that the earth is such as mathematicians declare 
it to be, and who admits every other fact resulting from this 
hypothesis. He requests that those who approach him shall 
have already settled this in their minds as a fact, that they 
may be able to lend their whole attention to other points. 
He will advance nothing which is not a consequence of these 
primary facts ; therefore those who hear him, if they have 
a knowledge of mathematics, will readily be able to turn his 
instructions to account ; for those who are destitute of this 
information he does not pretend to expound Geography. 

2. Those^ffiJiQ write ,jon__the science^of Geography should 
trust entirely for the arrangement of the subject they^aTS 
engagecTon to the geometersTwho have measured the whole 
earth; they in thejr.jLurn to astrojiomersT~and these again to 
^natural philosophers. Now natural philosophy iTpneoT the 

The "perfect sciences" they define 

in^onno external_Jiyj3othesi s, have the^^>rigi5^and the 


evidence of^their propositions^ in themselves^ Here are a 
fe^Tof fhe faHifestablished by natural philosophers. 2 

The^eurth arid heavens arespheroidal. 

The tendency of all bodies havingweight, is to a centre. 

Further, the earth being spheroidal, and having the same 

1 fi Se QvffiKi} apiTf) rig. We learn from the work entitled De Placitis 
Philosophorum, commonly attributed to Plutarch, that the Stoics digni- 
fied with the name of dperou, the three sciences of Physics, Ethics, and 
Logic, QvaiKr), 'H0uc?}, Aoyiic/}. The exact meaning of dper?) in these 
instances it is impossible to give, and Strabo's own explanation is perhaps 
the best that can be had ; we have here rendered it, " perfect science," for 
want of a better phrase. 

2 <&VfflKOt. 


centre as the heavens, is motionless, as well as the axis which /* 
pass^sjErpjigh_botb_i^and the heavens. The hea*vens turn V 
found both the~earth and itsTaxis, from east^to wes The i/ 
fixed stars^turn round with it, at the same rate ~asT5e whole. 1 
These fixed stars follow in their course parallel circles ; 
the principal of which are, the equator, the two tropicT, and 
the arctic circles. While the planets, the sun, and the moon, 
describe_certain obli^ue^ circTeT^m^reTiendeJ within theTzo- ^ 
diac. AdmittingTTiese'points in whole or in partTastronomers 
proceed to treat of other matters, [such as] the motions [of 
the stars], their revolutions, eclipses, size, relative distance, 
and a thousand similar particulars. On their side, geometers, 
when measuring the size of the entire earth, avail themselves 
of the data furnished by the natural philosopher and astro- 
nomer ; and the geographer on his part makes use of those of 
the geometer. 

3. The heavens and the earth must be supposed to be 
divided each into five zones, and the celestial zones to possess 
the same names as those below. The motives for such a 
division into zones we have already detailed. These zones 
may be distinguished by circles drawn parallel to the equator, 
on either side of it. Two of these will separate the torrid 
from the temperate zones, and the remaining two, the tem- 
perate from the frigid. To each celestial circle there shall 
be one corresponding on earth, and bearing the same name, 
and likewise zone for zone. The [two] zones capable of be- 
ing inhabited, are styled temperate. The remaining [three] 
are uninhabitable, one on account of the heat, the others be- 
cause of the extreme cold. The same is the case with re- 
gard to the tropical, and also to the arctic circles, in respect 
of those countries for which arctic circles can be said to ex- 
ist. Circles on the earth are supposed, corresponding to those 
in the heavens, and bearing the same name, one for one. 

As the whole heaven is separated into two parts by its 
equator, it follows that the earth must, by its equator, be 
similarly divided. The two hemispheres, both celestial and 

1 We have followed the suggestion of Gosselin in reading T$ o\y, the 
whole, instead of T<JJ TroXy, the pole, as in the text. Strabo having just 
previously stated Uiat the axis of the earth was stationary, it does not 
seem probable that he would immediately after speak of the motion of 
the pole. 

168 STRABO. BOOK ii. 

terrestrial, are distinguished into north and south. Likewise 
the torrid zone, which is divided into two halves by the equa- 
tor, is distinguished as having a northern and southern side. 
Hence it is evident that of the two temperate zones, one 
should be called northern, the other southern, according to 
the hemisphere to which it belongs. The northern hemi- 
sphere is that containing the temperate zone, in which looking 
from east to west, you will have the pole on your right hand, 
and the equator on the left, or, in which, looking south, the 
west will be on the right hand, and the east on the left. The 
southern hemisphere is exactly the contrary to this. 

It is clear that we are in one or other of these hemi- 
spheres, namely, the north ; we cannot be in both : 

" Broad rivers roll, and awful floods between, 
But chief the ocean." l 

And next is the torrid zone. But neither is there any ocean 
in the midst of the earth wherein we dwell, dividing the 
whole thereof, nor yet have we any torrid region. Nor is 
there any portion of it to be found in which the climata are 
opposite to those which have been described as characterizing 
the northern temperate zone. 

4. Assuming these data, and availing himself likewise of 
astronomical observations, by which the position of every 
place is properly determined, whether with respect to the 
circles parallel to the equator, or to those which cut these 
latter at right angles, in the direction of the poles, the ge- 
ometer measures the region in which he dwells, and [judges 
of the extent of] others by comparing the distance [between 
the corresponding celestial signs]. By this means he dis- 
covers the distance from the equator to the pole, which is a 
quarter of the largest circle of the earth ; having obtained 
this, he has only to multiply by four, the result is the [mea- 
sure of the] perimeter of the globe. 

In the same manner as he who takes the measures of the 
earth, borrows the foundation of his calculations from the 
astronomer, who himself is indebted to the natural philosopher, 
so in like manner the geographer adopts certain facts laid 
down as established by the geometer, before setting forth his 

1 Odyssey xi. 156, 157. 


description of the earth we inhabit ; its size, form, nature, and 
the proportion it bears to the whole earth. These latter points >i 
are the peculiar business of the geographer. He will next I 
enter on a particular description of every thing deserving no- 
tice, whether on land or sea ; he will likewise point out what- 
ever has been improperly stated by those who have preceded 
him, especially by those who are regarded as chief authorities 
in these matters. 1 

5. Let it be supposed that the earth and sea together form 
a spheroidal body, and preserve one and the same level in all 
the seas. For though some portions of the earth may be 
higher, yet this bears so small a relation to the size of the 
whole mass, as need not be noticed. The spheroid in conse- 
quence is not so minutely exact as one might be made by the aid 
of a turner's instrument, or as would answer the definition of a 
geometer, still in general appearance, and looked at rough- 
ly, it is a spheroid. Let the earth be supposed to consist of 
five zones, with (1.) the equatorial circle described round it, 
(2.) another parallel to this, 2 and defining the frigid zone of 
the northern hemisphere, and (3.) a circle passing through 
the poles, and cutting the two preceding circles at right angles. 
The northern hemisphere contains two quarters of the earth, 
which are bounded by the equator and the circle passing 
through the poles. 

Each of these [quarters] should be supposed to contain a 
four-sided district, its northern side being composed of one 
half of the parallel next the pole ; its southern, by the half of 
the equator ; and its remaining sides, by [two] segments of the 
circle drawn through the poles, opposite to each other, and 
equal in length. In one of these quadrilaterals (which of 
them is of no consequence) the earth that we inhabit is situ- 
ated, surrounded by sea, and similar to an island. This, as we 
said before, is evident both to our senses and to our reason. 
But should any one doubt thereof, it makes no difference so 
far as Geography is concerned, whether you suppose the por- 
tion of the earth we inhabit to be an island, or only admit 
what we know from experience, viz. that whether you start 

1 From this point Strabo, strictly speaking, commences his exposition 
of the principles of Geography. 

2 Strabo supposed this circle at a distance of 38,100 stadia from the 
equator, or 54 25' 42" of latitude. 

170 STRABO. 


from the east or west, you may sail all round it. Certain 
intermediate spaces may have been left [unexplored], but 
these are as likely to be occupied by sea, as uninhabited 
lands. The object of the geographer is to describe known 
countries ; those which are unknown he passes over equally 
with those beyond the limits of the inhabited earth. It 
will therefore be sufficient for describing the contour of the 
island we have been speaking of, if we join by a right line 
the utmost points which, up to this time, have been explored 
by voyagers along the coast on either side. 

6. Let it be supposed that this island is contained in one 
of the above quadrilaterals ; we must obtain its apparent mag- 
nitude by subtracting our hemisphere from the whole extent 
of the earth, from this take the half, and from this again the 
quadrilateral, in which we state our earth to be situated. We 
may judge also by analogy of the figure of the whole earth, by 
supposing that it accords with those parts with whicli we are 
acquainted. Now as the portion of the northern hemisphere, 
between the equator and the parallel next the [north] pole, re- 
sembles a vertebre or joint of the back-bone in shape, and as the 
circle which passes through the pole divides at the same time 
the hemisphere and the vertebre into two halves, thus forming 
the quadrilateral ; it is clear that this quadrilateral to which 
the Atlantic is adjacent, is but the half of the vertebre ; while at 
the same time the inhabited earth, which is an island in this, 
and shaped like a chlamys or soldiers cloak, occupies less than 
the half of the quadrilateral. This is evident from geometry, 
also 1 from the extent of the surrounding sea, which covers 
the extremities of the continents on either side, compressing 
them into a smaller figure, and thirdly, by the greatest length 
and breadth [of the earth itself]. The length being 70,000 
stadia, enclosed almost entirely by a sea, impossible to navigate 
owing to its wildness and vast extent, and the breadth 30,000 
stadia, bounded by regions rendered uninhabitable on account 
either of their intense heat or cold. That portion of the qua- 
drilateral which is unfitted for habitation on account of the 
heat, contains in breadth 8800 stadia, and in its greatest length 
126,000 stadia, which is equal to one half of the equator, and 

1 The whole of what follows to the end of the section is extremely em- 
barrassing in the original ; we must therefore claim the indulgence of 
the reader for any obscurity he may find in the translation. 


larger than one half the inhabited earth ; and what is left is 
still more. 

7. These calculations are nearly synonymous with those 
furnished by Hipparchus, who tells us, that supposing the 
size of the globe as stated by Eratosthenes to be correct, we 
can then subtract from it the extent of the inhabited earth, 
since in noting the celestial appearances [as they are seen] in 
different countries, it is not of much importance whether we 
make use of this measure, or that furnished by later writers. 
Now as the whole circle of the equator according to Eratos* 
thenes contains 252,000 stadia, the quarter of this would be 
63,000, that is, the space from the equator to the pole contains 
fifteen of the sixty divisions l into which the equator itself is 
divided. There are four [divisions] between the equator and 
the summer tropic or parallel passing through Syene. The 
distances for each locality are calculated by the astronomical 

It is evident that Syene is under the tropic,' from the fact 
that during the summer solstice the gnomon at mid-day casts 
no shadow there. As for the meridian of Syene, it follows 
very nearly the course of the Nile from Meroe to Alexandria, 
a distance of about 10,000 stadia. Syene itself is situated 
about mid-way between these places, consequently from thence 
to Meroe is a distance of 5000 stadia. Advancing 3000 
stadia southward in a right line, we come to lands unfitted for 
habitation on account of the heat. Consequently the parallel 
which bounds these places, and which is the same as that of 
the Cinnamon Country, is to be regarded as the boundary and 
commencement of the habitable earth on the south. If, then, 
3000 stadia be added to the 5000 between Syene and Meroe, 
there will be altogether 8000 stadia [from Syene] to the 
[southern] extremity of the habitable earth. But from Syene 
to the equator there are 16,800 stadia, (for such is the amount 
of the four-sixtieths, each sixtieth being equivalent to 
4200 stadia,) and consequently from the [southern] bound- 
aries of the habitable earth to the equator there are 8800 
stadia, and from Alexandria 21,800. 2 Again, every one is 

1 The Greeks, besides the division of the equator into 360 degrees, had 
also another method of dividing it into sixty portions -or degrees. 

2 These 21,800 stadia would give to Alexandria a latitude of 31 8' 
34" ; according to modern calculation it is 31 1 1' 20" of latitude. The 



agreed that the voyage from Alexandria to Rhodes, and thence 
by Caria and Ionia to the Troad, Byzantium, and the Dnieper, 
is in a straight line with the course of the Nile. 1 

Taking therefore these distances, which have been ascer- 
tained by voyages, we have only to find out how far beyond 
the Dnieper the land is habitable, (being careful always to 
continue in the same straight line,) and we shall arrive at 
a knowledge of the northern boundaries of our earth. 

Beyond the Dnieper dwell the Roxolani, 2 the last of the 
Scythians with which we are acquainted ; they are never- 
theless more south than the farthest nations 3 we know of 
beyond Britain. Beyond these Roxolani the country is unin- 
habitable on account of the severity of the climate. The Sau- 
romatse 4 who live around the Ma30tis, and the other Scythians 5 
as far as the Scythians of the East, dwell farther south. 

following presents Strabo's calculations of the latitude of the preceding 
places in a tabular form. 

Names of places. 









0' 0" 

Limits of the habitable earth 



12 34' 17" 
16 51' 25" 

Syene and the Tropic . . 



24 0' 0" 
31 8' 34" 

1 Eratosthenes, Hipparehus, and Strabo, all believed that the longitude 
of Rhodes was the same as that of Alexandria, although actually it is 2 
22' 45" west of that place. The coasts of Caria, Ionia, and the Troad 
incline considerably to the west, while Byzantium is about 3 east of the 
Troad, and the mouth of the Dnieper is above 3 46' east of Byzantium. 

* The Roxolani inhabited the Ukraine. It has been thought that from 
these people the Russians derived their name. 

3 Strabo here alludes to Ireland, which he placed north of England, and 
believed to be the most northerly region fitted for the habitation of man. 
He gave it a latitude of 36,700 stadia, equivalent to 52 25' 42", which 
answers to the southern portions of that island. 

4 The Sauromatae, or Sarmatians, occupied the lands north of the sea of 
Azof on either side of the Don. 

6 The Scythians here spoken of dwelt between the Don and the 
Wolga ; east of this last river were the Eastern Scythians, who were 
thought to occupy the whole north of Asia. 


8. It is true that Pytheas of Marseilles affirms that the 
farthest country north of the British island* is Thule ; for 
which place he says the summer tropic and the arctic circle 
is all one. But he records no other particulars concerning 
it ; [he does not say] whether Thule is an island, or whether 
it continues habitable up to the point where the summer 
tropic becomes one with the arctic circle. 1 For myself, I 
fancy that the northern boundaries of the habitable earth are 
greatly south of this. Modern writers tell us of nothing be- 
yond lerne, which lies just north of Britain, where the peo- 
ple live miserably and like savages on account of the severity 
of the cold. It is here in my opinion the bounds of the ha- 
bitable earth ought to be fixed. 

If on the one hand the parallels of Byzantium and Mar- 
seilles are the same, as Hipparchus asserts on the faith of 
Pytheas, (for he 2 says that at Byzantium the gnomon in- 
dicates the same amount of shadow as Pytheas gives for 
Marseilles,) and at the same time the parallel of the Dnieper 
is distant from Byzantium about 3800 stadia, it follows, if 
we take into consideration the distance between Marseilles 
and Britain, that the circle which passes over the Dnieper 
traverses Britain as well. 3 But the truth is that Pytheas, 
who so frequently misleads people, deceives in this instance 

It is generally admitted that a line drawn from the Pillars 
of Hercules, and passing over the Strait [of Messina], Athens, 
and Rhodes, would lie under the same parallel of latitude. 4 It 
is likewise admitted, that the line in passing from the Pillars to 
the Strait of Sicily divides the Mediterranean through the 

1 The tropic being placed at 24 from the equator by Strabo, and most 
probably by Pytheas also, the latitude of Thule, according to the observ- 
ation of this traveller, would be fixed at 66, which corresponds with the 
north of Iceland. 

2 Hipparchus. 

3 Hipparchus placed Marseilles and Byzantium 'at 30,142 stadia, or 
43 3' 38" of latitude, and estimated the parallel for the centre of Britain 
at 33,942 stadia, or 48 29' 19". Whereas Strabo only allowed for this 
latter 32,700 stadia, or 46 42' 51". 

4 Viz. the 36 of latitude. The actual latitudes are as follow : 
The Pillars of Hercules, or Strait of Gibraltar, 36. 

The Strait of Messina, 38 12'. 

Athens, 38<> 5'. 

The middle of the Isle of Rhodes, 36 18' ; and the city, 36o 28' 30". 

174 STRABO. BOOK 11. 

midst. 1 Navigators tell us that the greatest distance from 
Keltica to Libya, starting from the bottom of the Galatic Bay, is 
5000 stadia, and that this is likewise the greatest breadth of 
the Mediterranean. Consequently from the said line to the 
bottom of the bay is 2500 stadia ; but to Marseilles the dis- 
tance is rather less, in consequence of that city being more to 
the south than the bottom of the bay. 2 But since from 
Rhodes to Byzantium is about 4900 3 stadia, it follows that 
Byzantium must be far north of Marseilles. 4 The distance 
from this latter city to Britain is about the same as from By- 
zantium to the Dnieper. 5 How far it may be from Bri- 
tain to the island of lerne is not known. As to whether 
beyond it there may still be habitable lands, it is not our bu- 
siness to inquire, as we stated before. It is sufficient for our 
science to determine this in the same manner that we did the 
southern boundaries. We there fixed the bounds of the ha- 
bitable earth at 3000 stadia south of Meroe (not that these 
were its exact limits, but because they were sufficiently near) ; 
so in this instance they should be placed about the same num- 
ber of stadia north of Britain, certainly not more than 4000. 6 

1 This mistake of Strabo caused the derangement in his chart of the 
whole contour of this portion of the Mediterranean, and falsifies the posi- 
tion of the surrounding districts. 

2 Strabo having allowed 25,400 stadia, or 36 17' 8", for the latitude 
of Rhodes and the Strait of Messina, determined the latitude of Marseilles 
at 27,700 stadia, or 39 34' 17"; its real latitude being 43 17' 45", as 
exactly stated by Pytheas. 

3 Or about 7. The actual difference in latitude between Rhodes and 
Byzantium is 4 32' 54". 

4 On the contrary, Marseilles is 2 16' 21" north of Byzantium. 

5 3800 stadia, or 5o 25' 43". 

6 The following is a tabular form of the latitudes as stated by Strabo : 

Stadia. Latitude. 

From the equator to Alexandria 21,800 31 8' 34" 

From Alexandria to Rhodes, he computes in this ' 

instance 3600 stadia 25,400 36<> 17' 8" 

From the parallel of Rhodes to Marseilles, about 

2300 stadia 27,700 39 34' 1 7" 

From the parallel of Rhodes to the bottom of the 

Galatic Gulf, 2500 stadia 27,900 39o 51' 25" 

From Marseilles to the northern extremity of Gaul, 

or the southern extremity of Britain, 3800 

stadia 31,500 45 0' 0" 

From Marseilles to the middle of Britain, 50ft) 

stadia 32,700 46o 42' 51" 


It would not serve any political purpose to be well ac- 
quainted with these distant places and the people who inhabit 
them; especially if they are islands whose inhabitants can 
neither injure us, nor yet benefit us by their commerce. The 
Romans might easily have conquered Britain, but they did 
not care to do so, as they perceived there was nothing to fear 
from the inhabitants, (they not being powerful enough to at- 
tack us,) and that they would gain nothing by occupying the 
land. Even now it appears that we gain more by the customs 
they pay, than we could raise by tribute, after deducting the 
wages of the soldiers necessary for guarding the island and 
exacting the taxes. And the other islands adjacent to this 
would be still more unproductive. 

9. If, then, to the distance between Rhodes and the Dnie- 
per be added four thousand stadia north of the latter place, 
the whole would come to 12,700 stadia; and since from 
Rhodes to the southern limit of the habitable earth there are 
16,600 stadia, its total breadth from north to south would be 
under 30.000 stadia. 1 Its length from west to east is stated 
at 70,000 stadia, the distance being measured from the ex- 
tremities of Iberia to those of India, partly over the land and 
partly across the sea. That this length is contained within the 
quadrilateral aforesaid, is proved by the proportion borne by 
these parallels to the equator. Thus the length of the habit- 
able earth is above twice its breadth. It has been compared 

From the northern extremity of Gaul to the parallel Stadia. Latitude. 

of the northern extremity of Britain, 2500 stadia 34,000 48 34' 17" 
From the northern extremity of Gaul to lerne, 5000 

stadia 36,500 52 8' 34" 

From the northern extremity of Britain to the limits 

of the habitable earth, 4000 stadia 38,000 54 17' 9" 

1 Namely, 29,300. stadia. 

From Rhodes to Byzantium Strabo estimated 4900 

From Byzantium to the Dnieper 3800 

From the Dnieper to the northern limits of the habitable 

earth 4000 

From Rhodes to the southern limits of the habitable earth 16,600 

Total 29,300 

176 STRABO. 


in figure to a chlamys, or soldier's cloak, because if every part 
be carefully examined, it will be found that its breadth 
is greatly diminished towards the extremities, especially in 
the west. 

10. We have now been tracing upon a spherical surface the 
region which we state to be occupied by the habitable earth ; 
and whoever would represent the real earth as near as possible 
by artificial means, should make a globe like that of Crates, and 
upon this describe the quadrilateral within which his chart of 
geography is to be placed. For this purpose, however, a large 
globe is necessary, since the section mentioned, though but a 
very small portion of the entire sphere, must be capable of 
properly containing all the regions of the habitable earth, and 
presenting an accurate view of them to all those who wish to 
consult it. Any one who is able will certainly do well to ob- 
tain such a globe. But it should have a diameter of not less 
than ten feet : those who cannot obtain a globe of this size, 
or one nearly as large, had better draw their chart on a plane- 
surface, of not less than seven feet. Draw straight lines, 
some parallel, for the parallels [of latitude], and others at 
right angles to these ; we may easily imagine how the eye 
can transfer the figure and extent [of these lines] from a 
plane-surface to one that is spherical. What we have just 
observed of the circles in general, may be said with equal 
truth touching the oblique circles. On the globe it is true 
that the meridians of each country passing the pole have a 
tendency to unite in a single point, nevertheless on the plane- 
surface of the map, there would be no advantage if the right 
lines alone which should represent the meridians were drawn 
slightly to converge. The necessity for such a proceeding 
would scarcely ever be really felt. Even on our globe itself 1 
the tendency of those meridians (which are transferred to the 
map as right lines) to converge is not much, nor any thing 
near so obvious as their circular tendency. 

1 1. In what follows we shall suppose the chart drawn on 
a plane-surface ; and our descriptions shall consist of what we 
ourselves have observed in our travels by land and sea, and 
of what we conceive to be credible in the statements and 
writings of others. For ourselves, in a westerly direction we 

1 The artificial globe of 10 ft. diameter. 


have travelled from Armenia to that part of Tyrrhenia 1 which 
is over against Sardinia ; and southward, from the Euxine to 
the frontiers of Ethiopia. 2 Of all the writers on Geography, 
not one can be mentioned who has travelled over a wider ex- 
tent of the countries described than we have. Some may 
have gone farther to the west, but then they have never been 
so far east as we have ; again, others may have been farther 
east, but not so far west ; and the same with respect to north 
and south. However, in the main, both we and they have 
availed ourselves of the reports of others, from which to 
describe the form, the size, and the other peculiarities of the 
country, what they are and how many, in the same way that 
the mind forms its conceptions from the information of the 
senses. The figure, colour, and size of an apple, its scent, 
feel to the touch, and its flavour, are particulars communi- 
cated by the senses, from which the mind forms its concep- 
tion of an apple. So in large figures, the senses observe the 
various parts, while the mind combines into one conception 
what is thus seen. And in like manner, men eager after know- 
ledge, trusting to those who have been to various places, 
and to [the descriptions of] travellers in this or that country, 
gather into one sketch a view of the whole habitable earth. 

In the same way, the generals perform every thing, never- 
theless, they are not present every where, but most of their 
success depends on others, since they are obliged to trust to 
messengers, and issue their commands in accordance with the 
reports of others. To pretend that those only can know who 
have themselves seen, is to deprive hearing of all confidence, 
which, after all, is a better servant of knowledge than sight 

12. Writers of the present day can describe with more cer- 
tainty [than formerly] the Britons, the Germans, and the dwell- 
ers on either side of the Danube, the Getae, 3 the Tyrigetae, the 
Bastarnae, 4 the tribes dwelling by the Caucasus, such as the 

1 Tuscany. 

2 Strabo was of Amasea, a city of Pontus, close to the Euxine. He 
travelled through Egypt and reached Philae, which is about 100 stadia 
above Syene, the commencement of Ethiopia. 

3 The Gets occupied a portion of present Moldavia ; the Tyrigetae 
were those of the Getae who dwelt along the banks of the Tyras or 

4 The Bastarnae occupied the south and eastern portions of Poland. 

VOL. I. N 

178 STRABO. 


Albanians and Iberians. 1 We are besides possessed of a de- 
scription of Hyrcania 2 and Bactriana in the Histories of Par- 
thia written by such men as Apollodorus of Artemita, 3 who 
have detailed the boundaries [of those countries] with greater 
accuracy than other geographers. 

The entrance of a Roman army into Arabia Felix under 
the command of my friend and companion JElius Gallus, 4 
and the traffic of the Alexandrian merchants whose vessels 
pass up the Nile and Arabian Gulf 5 to India, have rendered 
us much better acquainted with these countries than our pre- 
decessors were. I was with Gallus at the time he was prefect 
of Egypt, and accompanied him as far as Syene and the fron- 
tiers of Ethiopia, and I found that about one hundred and 
twenty ships sail from Myos-hormos 6 to India, although, in 
the time of the Ptolemies, scarcely any one would venture 
on this voyage and the commerce with the Indies. 

13. Our first and most imperative duty 7 then, both in re- 
spect to science and to the necessities of the man of business, 
is to undertake to lay down the projection of the different coun- 
tries on the chart in as clear a style as possible, and to signify 
at the same time the relation and proportion they bear to the 
whole earth. For such is the geographer's peculiar province. 
It belongs to another science to give an exact description of 
the whole earth, and of the entire vertebre of either zone, and 

1 The Georgians of the present day. 2 Corcan. 

3 The precise time when this writer lived is unknown. The work here 
referred to is also mentioned by Athenseus, xv. p. 682. 

4 Prefect of Egypt in the reign of Augustus. This expedition into Ara- 
bia completely failed, through the treachery of the guide, a Roman named 
Syllaeus. A long account of it is given by Strabo in the 16th book. " It 
would be extremely interesting," says Professor Schmitz, " to trace this 
expedition of ^Elius Gallus into Arabia, but our knowledge of that coun- 
try is as yet too scanty to enable us to identify the route as described 
by Strabo, who derived most of his information about Arabia from his 
friend ^Elius Gallus." 

5 Red Sea. 

6 Myos-hormos, Mouse's Harbour, a sea-port of Egypt on the coast of 
the Red Sea. Arrian says that it was one of the most celebrated ports 
on fhis sea. It was chosen by Ptolemy Philadelphus for the convenience 
of commerce, in preference to Arsinoe or Suez, on account of the diffi- 
culty of navigating the western extremity of the gulf. It was called also 
Aphroditis Portus, or the Port of Venus. Its modern name is Suffange- 
el-Bahri, or " Sponge of the Sea." Lempriere. 

7 Humboldt commends Strabo's zeal in prosecuting his gigantic work, 
Cosmos ii. 557. 


as to whether the vertebre in the opposite quarter of the earth 
is inhabited. That such is the case is most probable, but not 
that it is inhabited by the same race of men as dwell with us. 
And it must therefore be regarded as another habitable earth. 
We however have only to describe our own. 

14. In its figure the habitable earth resembles a chlamys, 
or soldier's cloak, the greatest breadth of which would be 
indicated by a line drawn in the direction of the Nile, com- 
mencing from the parallel of the Cinnamon Country, and the 
Island of the Egyptian Exiles, and terminating at the parallel 
of lerna ; and its length by a line drawn from the west at 
right angles to the former, passing by the Pillars of Hercules 
and the Strait of Sicily to Rhodes and the Gulf of Issus, 1 
then proceeding along the chain of the Taurus, which divides 
Asia, and terminating in the Eastern Ocean, 2 between India 
and the Scythians dwelling beyond Bactriana. 

We must therefore fancy to ourselves a parallelogram, and 
within it a chlamys-shaped figure, described in such a manner 
that the length of the one figure may correspond to the length 
and size of the other, and likewise breadth to breadth. The 
habitable earth will therefore be represented by this kind of 
chlamys. We have before said that its breadth is marked 
out by parallels bounding its sides, and separating on either 
side the portions that are habitable from those that are not. 
On the north [these parallels] pass over lerna, 3 and on the 
side of the torrid zone over the Cinnamon Country. These 
lines being produced east and west to the opposite extremities 
of the habitable earth, form, when joined by the perpendicu- 
lars falling from their extremities, a kind of parallelogram. 
That within this the habitable earth is contained is evident, 
since neither its greatest breadth nor length project beyond. 
That in configuration it resembles a chlamys is also clear, 
from the fact that at either end of its length, the extremities 
taper to a point. 4 Owing to the encroachments of the sea, it 

1 The Gulf of Ai'as. 2 The Bay of Bengal. 

3 Strabo seems here to confound the parallel of lerna with that of the 
northern limits of the habitable earth, although a little above, as we have 
seen, he determines these limits at 15,000 stadia north of lerna. 

4 These narrowed extremities of the continent are, Spain on the west, 
terminated by Cape St. Vincent, and on the east the peninsula of India, 
terminated by Cape Comorin. This cape Strabo supposed continued 
in an easterly direction, and thus formed the most eastern portion of Asia. 

K 2 

180 STRABO. 


also loses something in breadth. This we know from those 
who have sailed round its eastern and western points. They 
inform us that the island called Taprobana l is much to the 
south of India, but that it is nevertheless inhabited, and is 
situated opposite to the island of the Egyptians and the Cin- 
namon Country, as the temperature of their atmospheres is 
similar. On the other side the country about the embouchure 
of the Hyrcanian Sea 2 is farther north than the farthest Scy- 
thians who dwell beyond India, and lerna still more so. It 
is likewise stated of the country beyond the Pillars of Her- 
cules, that the most western point of the habitable earth is 
the promontory of the Iberians named the Sacred Promontory. 3 
It lies nearly in a line with Gades, the Pillars of Hercules, 
the Strait of Sicily, and Rhodes ; 4 for they say that the ho- 
rologes accord, as also the periodical winds, and the duration 
of the longest nights and days, which consist of fourteen and 
a half equinoctial hours. From the coast of Gades and Iberia 
is said to have been formerly observed. 5 

Posidonius relates, that from the top of a high house in 
a town about 400 stadia distant from the places men- 
tioned, he perceived a star which he believed to be Canopus, 
both in consequence of the testimony of those who having 
proceeded a little to the south of Iberia affirmed that they 
could perceive it, and also of the tradition preserved at Cni- 
dus ; for the observatory of Eudoxus, from whence he is re- 
ported to have viewed Canopus, is not much higher than these 
houses ; and Cnidus is under the" same parallel as Rhodes, 
which is likewise that of Gades and its sea-coast. 

15. Sailing thence, Libya lies to the south. Its most 
western portions project a little beyond Gades ; it afterwards 

1 The island of Ceylon. 

2 Strabo supposed the Hyrcanian or Caspian Sea communicated with 
the northern ocean. 

3 Cape St. Vincent. 

4 Cape St. Vincent is north of Cadiz by 30' 30", north of the Strait of 
Gibraltar, or Pillars of Hercules, by 1 2', south of the Strait of Mes- 
sina by 1 10', and north of Rhodes by 33' 30". 

5 Casaubon conjectures that the words TQV Kavo>/3ov originally occu- 
pied the space of the lacuna. The passage would then stand thus From 
the coast of Cadiz and Iberia the star Canopus is said to have been for- 
merly observed. Groskurd rejects this, and proposes to read TOVQ TrXrj- 
aia.iTa.TovQ TOV KavdjjSov aarkctciQ, " the stars nearest to Canopus." But 
this too is not certain, and the passage is otherwise evidently corrupt. 


forms a narrow promontory receding towards the east and 
south, and becoming slightly broader, till it touches upon the 
western Ethiopians, who are the last l of the nations situated 
below Carthage, and adjoin the parallel of the Cinnamon Coun- 
try. They, on the contrary, who sail from the Sacred Promon- 
tory, 2 towards the Artabri, 3 journey northwards, having 
Lusitania 4 on the right hand. The remaining portion forms 
an obtuse angle towards the east as far as the extremities 
of the Pyrenees which terminate at the ocean. North- 
ward and opposite to this are the western coasts of Britain. 
Northward and opposite to the Artabri are the islands de- 
nominated Cassiterides, 5 situated in the high seas, but under 
nearly the same latitude as Britain. From this it appears to 
what a degree the extremities of the habitable earth are nar- 
rowed by the surrounding sea. 

16. Such being the configuration of the whole earth, it 
will be convenient to take two straight lines, cutting each 
other at right angles, and running the one through its greatest 
length, and the other through its breadth. The former of these 
lines will represent one of the parallels, and the latter one of 
the meridians. 6 Afterwards we must imagine other lines 
parallel to either of these respectively, and dividing both the 

1 The most southern. 2 Cape St. Vincent. 

3 The Artabri inhabited the country around Cape Finisterre. 

4 Principally contained in the modern kingdom of Portugal. 

5 The Scilly Islands off the Cornwall coast. 

6 We have long had the custom of tracing on every map the parallels 
of latitude and longitude at every degree, or every five or ten degrees, as 
the case may be. By means of these lines drawn at equal distances, the 
eye at once recognises the relative position of any place in the map. 
This method was not in use when Strabo wrote : at that time it was 
customary to draw a meridian or longitude, and a parallel of latitude, for 

^every important place of which the position was considered as determined. 
This was certainly an obscure way of dividing the globe ; nevertheless it 
is requisite to keep it in mind, in order that we may the more readily 
understand the general language of our geographer, who instead of simply 
stating the latitude and longitude of places, says such a place is situated 
under the same latitude, or about the same latitude, as such another place, 
&c. Ptolemy seems to have been the first who freed the study of geogra- 
phy from the confusion inseparable from the ancient method. He substi- 
tuted tables easy of construction and amendment ; where the position 
of each place was marked by isolated numbers, which denoted the exact 
latitude and longitude. 

182 STRABO. BOOK n. 

land and sea with which we are acquainted. By this means 
the form of the habitable earth will appear more clearly to be 
such as we have described it ; likewise the extent of the va- 
rious lines, whether traced through its length or breadth, and 
the latitudes [of places], will also be more clearly distinguish- 
ed, whether north or south, as also [the longitudes] whether 
east or west. However, these right lines should be drawn 
through places that are known. Two have already been thus 
fixed upon, I mean the two middle [lines] running through its 
length and breadth, which have been already explained, and 
by means of these the others may easily be determined. These 
lines will serve us as marks to distinguish countries situated 
under the same parallel, and otherwise to determine different 
positions both in respect to the other portions of the earth, and 
also of the celestial appearances. 

17. The ocean it is which principally divides the earth into 
various countries, and moulds its form. It creates bays, seas, 
straits, isthmuses, peninsulas, and capes ; while rivers and 
mountains serve to the same purpose. It is by these means 
that continents, nations, and the position of cities are capable 
of being clearly distinguished, together with those various 
other details of which a chorographical chart is full. Amongst 
these latter are the multitude of islands scattered throughout 
the seas, and along every coast ; each of them distinguished 
by some good or bad quality, by certain advantages or dis- 
advantages, due either to nature or to art. 

The natural advantages [of a place] should always be men- 
tioned, since they are permanent. Advantages which are ad- 
ventitious are liable to change, although the majority of those 
which have continued for any length of time should not be 
passed over, nor even those which, although but recent, have 
yet acquired some note and celebrity. For those which con- 
tinue, come to be regarded by posterity not as works of art, 
but as the natural advantages of the place ; these therefore it 
is evident we must notice. True it is, that to many a city 
we may apply the reflection of Demosthenes 1 on Olynthus 

1 Demosthenes, Philipp. III. edit. Reisk. t. i. p. 117, 1. 22. Demos- 
thenes is here alluding to the cities which different Grecian colonies had 
founded in the maritime districts of Thrace. The principal of these was 
the opulent and populous city of Olynthus, which, together with others, 


and its neighbouring towns : " So completely have they van- 
ished, that no one who should now visit their sites could say 
that they had ever been inhabited ! " 

Still we are gratified by visiting these and similar localities, 
being desirous of beholding the traces of such celebrated 
places, and the tombs of famous men. In like manner we 
should record laws and forms of government no longer in ex- 
istence, since these are serviceable to have in mind, equally 
with the remembrance of actions, whether for the sake of imi- 
tating or avoiding the like. 

18. Continuing our former sketch, we now state that the 
earth which we inhabit contains numerous gulfs, formed by 
the exterior sea or ocean which surrounds it. Of these there 
are four principal. The northern, called the Caspian, by 
others designated the Hyrcanian Sea, the Persian and Ara- 
bian Gulfs, formed by the [Southern] Sea, the one being 
nearly opposite to the Caspian, the other to the Euxine ; the 
fourth, which in size is much more considerable than the 
others, is called the Internal and Our Sea. 1 It commences 
in the Avest at the Strait of the Pillars of Hercules, and 
continues in an easterly direction, but with varying breadth. 
Farther in, it becomes divided, and terminates in two gulfs ; 
that on the left being called the Euxine Sea, while the other 
consists of the seas of Egypt, Pamphylia, and Issus. All 
these gulfs formed by the exterior sea, have a narrow en- 
trance ; those of the Arabian Gulf, however, and the Pillars 
of Hercules are smaller than the rest. 2 The land which 
surrounds these, as before remarked, consists of three divisions. 
Of these, the configuration of Europe is the most irregular. 
Libya, on the contrary, is the most regular ; while Asia holds a 
middle place between the two. In all of these continents, the 
regularity or irregularity of form relates merely to the inte- 
rior coasts ; the exterior, with the exception of the gulfs be- 

was taken, and razed to its foundations, by Philip of Macedon. Olyn- 
thus has become famous through the three orations of Demosthenes, 
urging the Athenians to its succour. 

1 The Mediterranean. 

2 The entrance to the Arabian Gulf is about six or seven marine 
leagues, that of the Mediterranean two and three-fourths. The entrance 
to the Persian Gulf is seven or eight leagues in extent ; while the Caspian, 
being a lake, has of course no outlet whatever. 

184 STRABO. 


fore mentioned, is unin dented, and, as I have stated, resembles 
a chlamys in its form; any slight differences being of course 
overlooked, as in large matters what is insignificant passes for 
nothing. Since in geographical descriptions we not only aim at 
portraying the configuration and extent of various places, but 
also their common boundaries, we will remark here, as we have 
done before, that the coasts of the Internal Sea 1 present a 
greater variety in their appearance than those of the Exterior 
[Ocean] ; the former is also much better known, its climate is 
more temperate, and more civilized cities and nations are 
here than there. We are also anxious to be informed where 
the form of government, the arts, and whatever else ministers 
to intelligence, produce the greatest results. Interest will 
always lead us to where the relations of commerce and society 
are most easily established, and these are advantages to be 
found where government is administered, or rather where it is 
well administered. In each of these particulars, as before 
remarked, Our Sea 2 possesses great advantages, and here 
therefore we will begin our description. 

19. This gulf, 3 as before stated, commences at the Strait 
of the Pillars ; this at its narrowest part is said to be 70 stadia. 
Having sailed down a distance of 120 stadia, the shores widen 
considerably, especially to the left, and you behold a vast sea, 
bounded on the right by the shore of Libya as far as Carthage, 
and on the opposite side by those of Iberia and Keltica as far 
as Narbonne and Marseilles, thence by the Ligurian, 4 and 
finally by the Italian coast to the Strait of Sicily. The 
eastern side of this sea is formed by Sicily and the straits on 
either side of it. That next Italy being 7 stadia [in breadth], 
and that next Carthage 1500 stadia. The line drawn from 
the Pillars to the lesser strait of 7 stadia, forms part of the 
line to Rhodes and the Taurus, and intersects the sea under 
discussion about its middle ; this line is said to be 12,000 stadia, 
which is accordingly the length of the sea. Its greatest 
breadth is about 5000 stadia, and extends from the Galatic 
Gulf, between Marseilles and Narbonne, to the opposite coast 
of Libya. 

1 Mediterranean. 

2 Strabo here means the countries bordering the Mediterranean. 

3 Viz. the Mediterranean. * The state of Genoa. 


The portion of the sea which washes Libya is called the 
Libyan Sea; that surrounding the land opposite is desig- 
nated by the respective names of the Iberian, the Ligurian, 1 
and the Sardinian Seas, while the remaining portion as far as 
Sicily is named the Tyrrhenian Sea. 2 All along the coast 
between the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas, there are numer- 
ous islands, the largest of which are Sardinia and Cyrnus, 3 
always excepting Sicily, which is larger and more fertile than 
any of our islands. The remainder are much smaller. Of 
this number are, in the high sea, Pandataria 4 and Pontia, 5 
and close to the shore JEthalia, 6 Planasia, 7 Pithecussa, 8 Pro- 
chyta, 9 Capriae, 10 Leucosia, 11 and many others On the other 12 
side of the Ligurian shore, and along the rest of the coast 
as far as the Pillars, there are but few islands ; the Gymnasiae 13 
and Ebusus 14 are of this number. There are likewise but 
few islands along the coasts of Libya and Sicily. We may 
mention however Cossura, 15 JEgimurus, 16 and the Lipari 
Islands, likewise called the Islands of -ZEolus. 

20. After Sicily and the straits on either side of it, 17 there 
are other seas, for instance, that opposite the Syrtes and the Cy- 
renaic, 18 the Syrtes themselves, and the sea formerly called the 
Ausonian, but which, as it flows into and forms part of the 
Sea of Sicily, is now included under the latter name. The 
sea opposite to the Syrtes and the Cyrenaic is called the Li- 
byan Sea ; it extends as. far as the Sea of Egypt. 

The Lesser Syrtes 19 is about 1600 stadia in circumference. 
On either side of its mouth lie the islands of Meninx 20 and 
Kerkina. 21 The Greater Syrtes 22 is (according to Eratosthenes) 
5000 stadia in circuit, and in depth 1800, from the Hes- 

I The Gulf of Genoa. 2 Vide Huraboldt's Cosmos, ii. 480. 
3 Corsica. 4 Vento Tiene. 5 Ponza. 

6 Elba. 7 Saint Honorat. 8 Ischia. 

9 Procida. 10 Capri. 

II A small island off the Capo della Licosa. 12 The western side. 
13 Majorca and Minorca. 14 Ivi^a. 

15 The island of Pantalaria. 

18 Al Djamur, at the entrance of the Gulf of Tunis. 

17 The Strait of Messina, and the strait separating Sicily and Cape 
Bona on the African coast. 

18 Of which Gyrene, now Curen, was the capital. 

19 The Gulf of Cabes. 20 The Island of Gerbi. 
21 The Island of Kerkeni. m Sidra, or Zalscho. 

186 STRABO. 


perides l to Automala, 2 and the frontier which separates the 
Cyrenaic from the rest of Libya. According to others, its 
circumference is only 4000 stadia, its depth 1500 stadia, and 
the breadth at its mouth the same. 

The Sea of Sicily washes Italy, from the Strait of Rhegium 3 
to Locris, 4 and also the eastern coast of Sicily from Messene 5 
to Syracuse 6 and Pachynus. 7 On the eastern side it reaches 
to the promontories of Crete, surrounds the greater part of 
Peloponnesus, and fills the Gulf of Corinth. 8 On the north 
it advances to the lapygian Promontory, 9 the mouth of the 
Ionian Gulf, 10 the southern parts of Epirus, 11 as far as the Am- 
bracic Gulf, 12 and the continuation of the coast which forms 
the Corinthian Gulf, near the Peloponnesus. 

The Ionian Gulf forms part of what we now call the Adri- 
atic. 13 Illyria forms its right side, and Italy as far as the 
recess where Aquileia is situated, the left. 

The Adriatic stretches north and west ; it is long and nar- 
row, being in length about 6000 stadia, and its greatest breadth 
1200. There are many islands situated here opposite the coasts 
of Illyria, such as the Absyrtides, 14 Cyrictica, 15 and the Libyr- 
nides, 16 also Issa, 17 Tragurium, 18 the Black Corcyra, 19 and 
Pharos. 20 Opposite to Italy are the Islands of Diomede. 21 The 

* Hesperides is the same city which the sovereigns of Alexandria after- 
wards called Berenice. It is the modern Bernic or Bengazi. 

2 Automala appears to have been situated on the most northern point 
of the Greater Syrtes, on the confines of a small gulf, near to a place called 
Tine, or the Marsh. 

3 Now Reggio, on the Strait of Messina, which was also sometimes 
called the Strait of Rhegium. 

4 These were the Epizephyrian Locrians, or dwellers near the promon- 
tory of Zephyrium. They were situated towards the extremity of Italy, 
near Rhegium. Traces of their city are seen at Motta di Bourzano on the 
eastern coast of Ulterior Calabria. 

5 Messina. 6 Syragusa. 7 Cape Passaro. 

8 The Gulf of Lepanto. 9 Cape Leuca or Finisterre. 

10 The lower part of the Adriatic was designated the Ionian Gulf. 

11 The portion of Greece opposite Corfu. 12 The Gulf of Arta. 
13 The Gulf of Venice. u The Islands of Cherso and Ossero. 

15 Apparently the Curicta of Pliny and Ptolemy, corresponding to the 
island of Veglia. 

16 The Libyrnides are the islands of Arbo, Pago, Isola Longa, Coronata, 
&c., which border the coasts of ancient Liburnia, now Murlaka. 

17 Lissa. 18 The Island of Traw. 19 Curzola. 20 Lesina. 
21 The Islands of Tremiti. 


Sea of Sicily is said to be 4500 stadia from Pachynus to 
Crete, and the same distance to Tasnarus in Laconia. 1 From 
the extremities of lapygia to the bottom of the Gulf of Corinth 
the distance is less than 3000 stadia, while from lapygia to 
Libya it is more than 4000. In this sea are the Islands of 
Corcyra 2 and Sybota, 3 opposite the coasts of Epirus ; and be- 
yond these, opposite the Gulf of Corinth, Cephallenia, 4 Ithaca, 
Zacynth, 5 and the Echinades. 6 

21. Next to the Sea of Sicily, are the Cretan, Saronic, 7 
and Myrtoan Seas, comprised between Crete, Argia, 8 and 
Attica. 9 Their greatest breadth, measured from Attica, is 
1200 stadia, and their length not quite double the distance. 
Within are included the Islands of Cythera, 10 Calauria, 11 
JEgina, 12 Salamis, 13 and certain of the Cyclades. 14 Adjacent to 
these arethe^Egean Sea, 15 the Gulf of Melas, 16 the Hellespont, 17 
the Icarian and Carpathian Seas, 18 as far as Rhodes, Crete, 
Cnidus, and the commencement of Asia. [In these seas] are 
the Cyclades, the Sporades, and the islands opposite Caria, 
Ionia, and JEolia, as far as the Troad, namely, Cos, 19 Samos, 20 
Chios, 21 Lesbos, 22 and Tenedos ; 23 likewise on the Grecian side 
as far as Macedonia and the borders of Thrace, Eubrea, 24 Scy- 
ros, 25 Peparethus, 26 Lemnos, 27 Thasos, 28 Imbros, 29 Samothra- 
cia, 30 and numerous others, of which it is our intention to speak 
in detail. The length of this sea is about 4000 stadia, or rather 

1 From Cape Pachynus or Passaro to Cape Krio, the ancient Criu- 
metopon, on the western extremity of the Island of Crete, measures 4516 
stadia of 700 to a degree. 

2 Corfu. 

3 Sibota, Sajades ; certain small islands between Epirus and Corcyra. 

4 Cefalonia. 5 Zante. 

6 The Curzolari Islands at the mouth of the Aspro-Potamo. 

7 The Gulf of Engia. 8 A district of the Peloponnesus. 
9 A part of the modern Livadia. 10 Cerigo. 

11 Poro, or Poros, near the little Island of Damala, and connected to it 
by a sand-bank. 

12 Egina or Engia. 13 Koluri. 14 Islands surrounding Delos. 
15 Egio-Pelago. I8 The Gulf of Saros. 17 The Dardanelles. 

1S The sea surrounding the Islands of Icaria and Carpathos, now Ni- 
karia and Scarpanto. 

19 Stanko. Same. 21 Skio. Mytileni. 

13 Tenedo. 24 Egripo, or Negropont. Skyro. 

26 Probably Piperi ; others suppose it to be Skopelo or Pelagonesi. 

27 Stalimene. Thaso. 29 Imbro. 30 Samothraki. 

188 STRABO. 


more, 1 its breadth about 2000. 2 It is surrounded by the 
coast of Asia above mentioned, and by those of Greece from 
Sunium 3 northwards to the Thermaic Gulf 4 and the Gulfs 
of Macedonia, 5 and as far as the Thracian Chersonesus. 6 

22. Here too is the strait, seven stadia in length, which is be- 
tween Sestos 7 and Abydos, 8 and through which the JEgaean 
and Hellespont communicate with another sea to the north, 
named the Propontis, 9 and this again with another called the 
Euxine. This latter is, so to speak, a double sea, for towards 
its middle are two projecting promontories, one to the north, 
on the side of Europe, and the other opposite from the coast 
of Asia, which leave only a narrow passage between them, 
and thus form two great seas. The European promontory 
is named Criu-metopon ; 10 that of Asia, Carambis. 11 They 
are distant from each other about 2500 stadia.- 12 The length 
of the western portion of this sea 13 from Byzantium to 
the outlets of the Dnieper is 3800 stadia, its breadth 
2000. Here is situated the Island of Leuca. 14 The eastern 
portion is oblong and terminates in the narrow recess 
in which Dioscurias is situated. In length it is 5000 stadia, 
or rather more, and in breadth about 3000. The entire cir- 
cumference of the Euxine is about 25,000 stadia. Some have 
compared the shape of its circumference to a Scythian bow 
when bent, the string representing the southern portions of 
the Euxine, (viz. the coast, from its mouth to the recess in 
which Dioscurias is situated ; for, with the exception of Ca- 
rambis, the sinuosities of the shore are but trifling, so that it 

I The distance from the southern coast of Crete to the northern shores 
of the ^Egaean is just 4200 stadia, or 120 marine leagues. 

This is just the distance from Cape Colonna to Rhodes. 

Cape Colonna. * The Gulf of Saloniki. 

Those of Kassandra, Monte-Santo, and Contessa. 

The peninsula of Gallipoli. 

Semenik, or according to others, Jalowa. 

8 Maito, or according to others, Avido. 9 Sea of Marmora. 

10 Karadje-Burun, the southern point of the Crimea. 

II Kerempi-Burun. 

12 We should here read 1500 stadia. See French Translation, vol. i. p. 
344, n. 3. 

13 The Euxine. 

14 Also called the Island of Achilles, and the Island of the Blessed, 
now Ilan-Adassi. 

CHAP. v. 23, 24. INTRODUCTION. 189 

may be justly compared to a straight line,) and the remainder 
[of the circumference representing] the wood of the bow with 
its double curve, the uppermost very much rounded, the lower 
more in a straight line. So this sea forms two gulfs, the 
western much more rounded than the other. 

23. To the north of the eastern Gulf of the Pontus, is the 
Lake Mceotis, whose perimeter is 9000 stadia or rather more. 
It communicates with the Euxine by means of the Cimmerian 
Bosphbrus, 1 and the Euxine with the Propontis 2 by the Thra- 
cian Bosphorus, for such is the name given to the Strait of 
Byzantium, which is four stadia in breadth. The length of 
the Propontis from the Troad to Byzantium is stated to be 
1500 stadia. Its breadth is about the same. It is in this 
sea that the Island of the Cyziceni 3 is situated, with the other 
islands around it. 

24. Such and so great is the extent of the jEgsean Sea to- 
wards the north. 4 Again, starting from Rhodes, the [Medi- 
terranean] forms the seas of Egypt, Pamphylia, and Issus, 
extending in an easterly direction from Cilicia to Issus, a dis- 
tance of 5000 stadia, along the coasts of Lycia, Pamphylia, 
and the whole of Cilicia. From thence Syria, Phosnicia, and 
Egypt surround the sea to the south and west as far as Alex- 
andria. The Island of Cyprus is situated in the Gulfs of 
Issus and Pamphylia, close to the Sea of Egypt. The passage 
between Rhodes and Alexandria from north [to south] is 
about 4000 stadia ; 5 sailing round the coasts it is double this 
distance. Eratosthenes informs us that, although the above 

1 The Strait of Zabache. 2 The Sea of Marmora. 

3 The Island of Cyzicus was joined to the mainland by Alexander, and 
thus formed a peninsula, notwithstanding Strabo describes it as an is- 
land. Its present name is Artaki. 

4 The extent of the jEgaean amongst the ancients was the same as the 
Egio-Pelago, or Archipelago, with us. It was comprehended between the 
southern coasts of Crete, the western coasts of Peloponnesus, the southern 
coasts of Macedonia and Thrace, and the western borders of Asia Minor. 
Strabo 'however, in his description, seems to comprise under the name of 
the ^Egaean not only those parts of the Mediterranean south of the meri- 
dian of Cape Matapan, but also the Propontis and the Euxine, as far as 
the mouth of the river Halys, now Kizil-Ermak. In this however he 
seems to be unique. 

5 This is just the distance, says Gosselin, from the northern part of 
Rhodes to Alexandria, but the route, instead of being from north to south, 
as supposed by the ancients, is S. S. W. 


is the distance according to some mariners, others avow dis- 
tinctly that it amounts to 5000 stadia ; while he himself, from 
observations of the shadows indicated by the gnomon, calcu- 
lates it at 3750. 

That part of the Mediterranean Sea which washes the coasts 
of Cilicia and Pamphylia together with the right side of the 
Euxine,. the Propontis, and the sea-coast beyond this as far as 
Pamphylia, form a kind of extensive Chersonesus, the isthmus 
of which is also large, and reaches from the sea near Tarsus l 
to the city of Amisus, 2 and thence to the Themiscyran 3 plain 
of the Amazons. In fact the whole region within this line as 
far as Caria and Ionia, and the nations dwelling on this side 
the Halys, 4 is entirely surrounded by the JEgseau and the 
aforementioned parts of the Mediterranean and Euxine Seas. 5 
This is what we call Asia properly, 6 although the whole con- 
tinent bears the same name. 

25. To speak shortly, the southernmost point of Our Sea 
is the recess of the Greater Syrtes ; 7 next to this Alexandria 
in Egypt, and the mouths of the Nile ; while the most north- 
erly is the mouth of the Dnieper, or if the Maoris be con- 
sidered to belong to the Euxine, (and it certainly does appear 
to form a part of it,) the mouth of the Don. The Strait 
at the Pillars is the most westerly point, and the most easterly 
is the said recess, in which Dioscurias 8 is situated ; and not, 
as Eratosthenes falsely states, the Gulf of Issus, 9 which is 
under the same meridian as Amisus 10 and Themiscyra, and, 
if you will have it so, Sidene as far as Pharnacia. 11 Proceed- 
ing thence in an easterly direction to Dioscurias, the distance 
by sea is above 3000 stadia, as will be seen more plainly in 
my detailed account of those countries. Such then is the Me- 

I Tarsous. 2 Samsonn. 

3 Themiscyra, a town of Cappadocia at" the mouth of the Thermodon, 
(now the Termeh,) belonging to the kingdom of the Amazons. The ter- 
ritories around it bore the same name. The plain is now comprehended 
in the modern Djanik. 

4 Kizil-Ermak. 

5 Lit. the before-mentioned parts of the sea on either side. 

6 Asia Minor, or Anadoli. 7 The Sidra of the moderns. 
8 Iskouriah. 9 The Gulf of Aias. 10 Samsoun. 

II The ruins of this city are said to be called by the modern Greeks 
$i ovaKr] or TlXarkva indiscriminately. 


26. We must now describe the countries which 
it ; and here we will begin from the same point, w 
commenced our description of the sea itself. 

Entering the Strait at the Pillars, Libya, as far as the river 
Nile, is on the right hand, and to the left, on the other side of 
the Strait, is Europe, as far as the Don. Asia bounds both 
these continents. We will commence with Europe, both be- 
cause its figure is more varied, and also because it is the 
quarter most favourable to the mental and social ennoblement 
of man, and produces a greater portion of comforts than the 
other continents. 

Now the whole of Europe is habitable with the exception 
of a small part, which cannot be dwelt in, on account of the 
severity of the cold, and which borders on the Hamaxoeci, 1 
who dwell by the Don, Maeotis, and Dnieper. ~[ The win~ 
try and mountainous parts of the habitable earth would 
seem to afford by nature but a miserable means of exist- 
ence ; nevertheless, by good management, places scarcely in- 
habited by any but robbers, may be got into condition. Thus 
the Greeks, though dwelling amidst rocks and mountains, 
live in comfort, owing to their economy in government and 
the arts, and all the other appliances of life. Thus too the 
JRomans, after subduing numprpns nntipna who were leading 
a savage life, either induced by the rockiness of their coun- 
tries, or want of ports, or severity of the cold, or for other 
reasons scarcely habitable, have taught the arts of commerce 
to many who were formerly in total ignorance, and spread 
civilization amongst the most savage. Where 'the climate is 
equable and mild, nature herself does much towards the pro- 
duction of these advantages. As in such favoured regions 
every thing inclines to peace, so those which are sterile gene- 
rate bravery and a disposition to war. These two races re- 
ceive mutual advantages from each other, the one aiding by 
their arms, the other by their husbandry, arts, and institutions. 
Harm must result to both when failing to act in concert, but 
the advantage will lie on the side of those accustomed to arms, 
except in instances where they are overpowered by multitudes. 
This continent is very much favoured in this respect, being in- 

1 Dwellers in waggons, or huts fixed^n wheels for the purpose of trans - 
from one pasturage to another, as necessity might require. 

192 STRABO. BOOK n. 

terspersed with plains and mountains, so that every where the 
foundations of husbandry, civilization, and hardihood lie side by 
side. The number of those who cultivate the arts of peace, is, 
however, the most numerous, which preponderance over the 
whole is mainly due to the influence of the government, first of 
the Greeks, and afterwards of the Macedonians and Romans.^! 
Europe has thus within itself resources both for war [and 
JjeaceJTlt is amply supplied with warriors, and also with men 
fitted for the labours of agriculture, and the life of the towns. 
It is likewise distinguished for producing in perfection those 
fruits of the earth necessary to life, and all the useful metals. 
Perfumes and precious stones must be imported from abroad, 
but as far as the comfort of life is concerned, the want or the 
possession of these can make no difference. The country like- 
wise abounds in cattle, while of wild beasts the number is but 
small. Such is the general nature of this continent. 

27. We will now describe separately the various countries 
into which it is divided. The first of these on the west is Iberia, 
which resembles the liide^of an ox ^sjread_out] ; the eastern 
portions, which correspond tcTthe neck, adjoining the neigh- 
bouring country of Gaul. The two countries are divided on 
this side by the chain" of mountains called the Pyrenees ; on 
all its other sides it is surrounded by sea ; on the south, as 
far as the Pillars, by jOur Sea ; and thence to the northern 
extremity of the PyreneesHfry the Atlantic. The greatest 
length of this country is about 6000 staSia^ its breadth 5000. * 

28. JCast ofjjiis^is Keltica, which extends, as far as the 

Itsnorthern side is washed by the entire of the 
BritishjDhannel, for this island lies opposite and parallel to 
it throughout, extending as much as 5000 stadia in length. Its 
eastern side is bounded by the river Rhine, whose stream runs 
gajiallel with the Pyrenees ; and its southern side commencing 
from the Rhine, [is bounded] partly by the Alps, and partly by 
Our__Sea ; where what is called the Galatic TJulf 2 runs in, and 
on this are situated the far-famed cities of Marseilles and Nar- 
bonne. Right opposite to the Gulf on the other side of the 
land, lies another Gulf, called by the same name, Galatic, 3 look- 

1 From Cape Gata in Granada to the borders of Asturias the distance 
is about 5000 stadia. But the greatest breadth of Spain is from Cape Gata 
to Cape Belem in Gallicia, which equals 5890 stadia of 700 to a degree. 

2 The Gulf of Lyon. 3 The Gulf of Aquitaine or Gascony. 


CHAP. v. $ 29, 30. INTRODUCTION. 

ing towards the north and Britain. It is here tl 
breadth of Keltica is the narrowest, being contracte 
an isthmus less than 3000 stadia, but more than 2000. \\ 
this region there is a mountain ridge, named Mount Cemme- 
nus, 1 which runs nearly at right angles to the Pyrenees, and 
terminates in the central plains of Keltica. 2 The Alps, which 
are a very lofty range of mountains, form a curved line, the 
convex side ofwhich is turnedLtowardalhe plains of Keltica, 
"mentioned before^ and Mount Cemmenus, and the concave 
towards JLiguria 3 ajid J/taly. 

The^Alps afe'mhabited by numerousjaations, but all Keltic 
with the exception of the Ligurians, and these, though oi" a 
different race, closely reseniblethem in their manner of life. 
They inhabit that portion of the Alps which is next the Apen- 
nines, and also a part of the Apennines themselves. This 
latter mountain ridge traverses the whole length ojLItaly from 
north to south, and terminates at the Straff of Sicily. 

29. The first parts of Italy are the plains situated under 
the Alps, as far as the recess of the Adriatic and the neigh- 
bouring places. 4 The parts beyond form a narrow and long 
slip, resembling a peninsula, traversed, as I have said, 
throughout its length by the Apennines ; its length is 7000 
stadia, but its breadth is very unequal. The seas which form 
the peninsula of Italy are, the Tyrrhenian, which commences 
from the Ligurian, the Ausonian, and the Adriatic. 5 

30. j^tjr^talv_and_^eltica, the remainder of Europe ex- 
tendstpwardstheeast, and is divided into two_by the Danube. 
This riveFITows'lroPl west to.. .east, fl.nd disp.ha.rgp.a it.sp.1f into 
the Euxine Sea, leaving on its left the entire of Germany com- 
mencing from the Rhine, as wej^ as the whole of the Getre, 

1 The Cevennes. 

2 This ridge commences at the eastern part of the Pyrenees. Its 
ramifications extend to about Dijon. 

3 Genoa. 

4 The Romans gave to the whole of this country, which was peopled by 
a race of Keltic extraction, the name of Cisalpine Gaul, because situated 
on this side the Alps, with respect to them. France was designated Trans- 
alpine Gaul. 

5 The Tyrrhenian or Tuscan Sea commenced about the mouth of the 
Arno, and extended as far as Naples. The Ligurian Sea is the Gulf of 
Genoa. The Ausonian Sea, afterwards called the Sea of Sicily, washes 
the southern parts of Italy. The Adriatic Gulf, is the Gulf of Venice. 

VOL. i. o 


the Tyrigetae, the Bastarni, and the Sauromati, as far as the 
river Don, and the Lake Maaotis, 1 on its right being the 
whole of Thrace and Illyrja, 2 andin fine the rest of Greece. 

fronting Europe lie the islands~which we have mentioned. 
Without the Pillars, Gadeira, 3 the Cassiterides, 4 and the 
Britannic Isles. Within the Pillars are the Gymnesian Is- 
lands, 5 the other little islands of the Phrenicians, 6 the Mar- 
seillais, and the Ligurians ; those fronting Italy as far as the 
islands of ^Eolus and Sicily, and the whole of those 7 along 
Epirus and Greece, as far as Macedonia and the Thracian 

31. From the Don and the Maaotis 8 commences [Asia] on 
this side the Taurus ; beyond these is [Asia] beyond the 
Taurus. For since this continent is divided into two by 
the chain of the Taurus, which extends from the extremities 
of Pamphylia to the shores of the Eastern Sea, 9 inhabited 
by the Indians and neighbouring Scythians, the Greeks 
naturally called that part of the continent situated north 
of these mountains [Asia] on this side the Taurus, and 
that on the south [Asia] beyond the Taurus. Consequently 
the parts adjacent to the Maeotis and Don are on this side 
the Taurus. The first of these is the territory between the 
Caspian Sea and the Euxine, bounded on one side 10 by the 
Don, the Exterior Ocean, 11 and the Sea of Hyrcania; on the 
other 12 by the Isthmus where it is narrowest from the recess 
of the Euxine to the Caspian. 

Secondly, but still on this side the Taurus, are the coun- 
tries above the Sea of Hyrcania as far as the Indians and 

1 The Getae inhabited Moldavia. The Tyrigetae, or Getae of Tyras or 
the Dniester, dwelt on the banks of that river. The Bastarni inhabited 
the Ukraine. The Sarmatians, or Sauromatians, extended along either 
bank of the Don and the environs of the Sea of Azof, the ancient Palus 

2 Thrace and Macedonia form part of the modern Roumelia : Illyria 
comprehended Dalmatia, Bosnia, Croatia, &c. 

3 Cadiz. 4 The Scilly Isles. 5 Majorca and Minorca. 

6 Ivi^a, Formentera, Spalmador, &c. They were called Phoenician 
Islands, because the Carthaginians had sent out a colony thither 160 years 
after the founding of their city. 

7 Namely all the islands of the Ionian and -ZEgaean Seas, from Corfu to 
the Dardanelles. 

8 The Sea of Azof. 9 The Bay of Bengal. 10 The North. 
11 The Northern Ocean. 12 The south. 


Scythians, who dwell along the said sea l and Mount Imaus. 
These countries are possessed on the one side by the Mseotse, 2 
and the people dwelling between the Sea of Hyrcania and the 
Euxine as far as the. Caucasus, the Iberians 3 and Albanians, 4 
viz. the Sauromatians, Scythians, 5 Achaeans, Zygi, and Heni- 
ochi : on the other side beyond the Sea of Hyrcania, 6 by the 
Scythians, 7 Hyrcanians, Parthians, Bactrians, Sogdians, and 
the other nations of India farther towards the north. To the 
south, partly by the Sea of Hyrcania, and partly by the whole 
isthmus which separates this sea from the Euxine, is situated the 
greater part of Armenia, Colchis, 8 the whole of Cappadocia 9 as 
far as the Euxine, and the Tibaranic nations. 10 Further [west] 
is the country designated on this side the Halys, 11 containing 
on the side of the Euxine and Propontis the Paphlagonians, 
Bithynians, Mysians, and Phrygia on the Hellespont, which 
comprehends the Troad ; and on the side of the ^Egasan and 
adjacent seas JEolia, Ionia, Caria, and Lycia. Inland is the 
Phrygia which contains that portion of Gallo-Graecia styled 
Galatia, Phrygia Epictetus, 12 the Lycaonians, and the Lydians. 
32. Next these on this side the Taurus are the mountaineers 
of Paropamisus, and various tribes of Parthians, Medes, Ar- 
menians, Cilicians, with "the Lycaonians," 13 and Pisidians. 14 

1 The Bay of Bengal. 

2 Sarmatian Meeotae in the Greek text, but apparently incorrect. 

3 Inhabitants of Georgia. * Inhabitants of Shirvan. 

5 The Scythians here alluded to are the Tartars of Kuban ; the Achse- 
ans and Zygi are the modern Ziketi ; the Heniochi are the Abkazeti. 

6 East of the Caspian. 

7 These Scythians are the Tartars of the Kharasm. The Hyrcanians 
are the inhabitants of Daghistan and the Corcan. The Parthians occu- 
pied the north of Khorasan ; the Bactrians the country of Balk. The 
Sogdians inhabited Bukaria, where are Samarcand and the valley of 
Al-Sogd. 8 Mingrelia. 

9 Cappadocia comprehended a portion of the modern Roum and Kara- 
mania between the Euphrates and the river Halys. 

10 Under this name Strabo included a portion of the kingdom of Pontus 
and other small tribes as far as Colchis. 

11 Now the Kizil-Irmak. 

12 The northern and western portions of Phrygia. 

13 Probably an interpolation. 

14 The mountaineers of Paropamisus were those who inhabited the 
mountains which separate Bactriana from India. The Parthians occu- 
pied the mountains north of the modern Khorasan. Under the name of 
Medians Strabo comprehends the various nations who inhabited the 
mountainous country between Parthia and Armenia. The Cilicians in- 

o 2 

196 STRABO. 


After these mountaineers come the people dwelling beyond 
the Taurus. First amongst these is India, a nation greater 
and more flourishing than any other ; they extend as far as 
the Eastern Sea l and the southern part of the Atlantic. In 
the most southerly part of this sea opposite to India is situated 
the island of Taprobana, 2 which is not less than Britain. 
Beyond India to the west, and leaving the mountains [of the 
Taurus] on the right, is a vast region, miserably inhabited, 
on account of the sterility of its soil, by men of different 
races, who are absolutely in a savage state. They are 
named Arians, and extend from the mountains to Gedrosia 
and Carmania. 3 Beyond these towards the sea are the Per- 
sians, 4 the Susians, 5 and the Babylonians, 6 situated along the 
Persian Gulf, besides several smaller neighbouring states. On 
the side of the mountains and amidst the mountains are the 
Parthians, the Medes, the Armenians, and the nations adjoin- 
ing these, together with Mesopotamia. 7 Beyond Mesopotamia 
are the countries on this side the Euphrates ; viz. the whole 
of Arabia Felix, bounded by the entire Arabian and Persian 
G-ulfs, together with the country of the Scenitae and Phylarchi, 
who are situated along the Euphrates and in Syria. Beyond 
the Arabian Gulf and as far as the Nile dwell the Ethiopians 8 
and Arabians, 9 and next these the Egyptians, Syrians, and 
Cilicians, 10 both those styled Trachiotse and others besides, 
and last of all the Pamphylians. 11 

habited Aladeuli ; the Lycaonian mountaineers the mountains which se- 
parate Karaman from Itch-iili ; and the Pisidians the country of Hamjd. 

I The Bay of Bengal. 2 Ceylon. 

3 The Arians inhabited Sigistan and a part of modern Persia. Strabo 
gave the name of Arians to all the people who occupied the portions of 
Asia comprised between the Indus and Persia, and between the chain of 
the Taurus and Gedrosia and Carmania. In after-times the designation 
of Arians was restricted to the inhabitants of the modern Khorasaii. 
Gedrosia is Mekran ; Carmania yet preserves the name of Kerman. 

4 Ancient Persia is the modern province of Pars, Pars, or Paras ; our 
Persia being much more extensive than the ancient country designated 
by the same name. 

The Susians inhabited the modern Khosistan. 
The Babylonians occupied the present Irak-Arabi. 
Now al-Djezira. 

Viz. the Ethiopians occupying the territory from Syene to Abyssinia. 
The Troglodyte Arabians. 
10 The Cilicians occupied the modern Itch-iili and Aladeuli ; the 
Trachiotoe or mountaineers, the former of these countries. 

II Pamphylia is the modern Tekieh. 


33. After Asia comes Libya, which adjoins Egypt and 
Ethiopia. The coast next us, from Alexandria almost to the 
Pillars, is in a straight line, with the exception of the Syrtes, 
the sinuosities of some moderately sized bays, and the projec- 
tion of the promontories by which they are formed. The side 
next the ocean from Ethiopia up to a certain point is almost 
parallel to the former ; but after this the southern portions 
become narrowed into a sharp peak, extending a little beyond 
the Pillars of Hercules, and giving to the country something 
the figure of .a trapezium. Its appearance, both by the ac- 
counts of other writers, and also the description given to our- 
selves by Cnasus Piso, who was governor of this province, is 
that of a panther's skin, being dotted over with habitations 
surrounded by parched and desert land : these habitations 
the Egyptians call Auases. 1 This continent offers besides 
several other peculiarities, which may be said to divide it 
into three distinct portions. Most of the coast next us is very 
fertile, more especially about the Cyrenaic and the parts about 
Carthage, as far as Maurusia and. the Pillars of Hercules. 2 
Next the ocean it is likewise tolerably fitted for the habitation 
of man ; but not so the centre of the country, which produces 
silphium ; 3 this for the most part is barren, rugged, arid sandy; 
and the same is the case with regard to the whole of Asia 
lying under the same right line which traverses Ethiopia, the 
Troglodytic, 4 Arabia, and the part of Gedrosia occupied by 
the Ichthyophagi. 5 The people inhabiting Libya are for the 
most part unknown to us, as it has rarely been entered, either 
by armies or adventurers. But few of its inhabitants from 
the farther parts come amongst us, and their accounts are 
both incomplete and not to be relied on. The sum of what 
they say is as follows. Those which are most southern are 
called Ethiopians. 6 North of these the principal nations are 

1 Or Oases, according to the common spelling. 

2 That is to say, from Tunis to Gibraltar. The Maurusians, called by 
the Latins Mauritanians, occupied the present Algiers and Fez. 

3 Probably asa-foetida. * The Troglodytic extended along 
the western coast of the Arabian Gulf. 

5 The Ichthyophagi of Gedrosia inhabited the barren coasts of Mekran. 

6 The term of Ethiopians was a generic name given by the Greeks and 
Romans to the most southern inhabitants of Africa they at any time hap- 
pened to be acquainted with ; consequently the position of this country 
frequently shifted. 


the Garamantes, the Pharusians, and the Nigritae. 1 Still 
farther north are the Gaetuli. Close to the sea, and adjoin- 
ing it next Egypt, and as far as the Cyrenaic, dwell the 
Marmaridce. 2 Above 3 the Cyrenaic and the Syrtes 4 are the 
Psylli and Nasamones, 5 and certain of the Gaetuli ; and after 
them the Asbysta3 6 and Byzacii, 7 as far as Carthage. Car- 
thage is vast. Adjoining it are the Numidae ; 8 of these people 
the tribes best known to us are called the Masylies and the 
Masaesylii. The most westerly are the Maurusians. 9 The 
whole land, from Carthage to the Pillars of Hercules, is fer- 
tile. Nevertheless it abounds in wild beasts no less than 
the interior ; and it does not seem improbable that the cause 
why the name of Nomades, 10 or Wanderers, was bestowed on 
certain of these people originated in their not being able 
anciently to devote themselves to husbandry on account of 
the wild beasts. At the present day, when they are well 
skilled in hunting, and are besides assisted by the Romans in 
their rage for the spectacle of fights with beasts, they are both 
masters of the beasts and of husbandry. This finishes what 
we have to say on the continents. 

34. It now remains for us to speak of the climata. 11 Of 

1 The Garamantas inhabited the Kawan ; Garama, their capital, is now 
named Gherma. The Pharusians and Nigritae dwelt south of the present 
kingdom of Morocco. 

2 The Marmaridae extended west from Egypt, as far as Catabathmus, 
near the present Cape Luco. 

3 Viz. to the south and west. 4 The Gulfs of Sydra and Cabes. 

5 The Psylli and Nasamones inhabited the eastern parts of the present 
kingdom of Tripoli, above the Greater Syrtes and the desert of Barca. 

6 The Asbystse were a people of Libya above Cyrene, where the temple 
of Ammon stood ; Jupiter is sometimes called on that account Asbysteus. 

7 The Byzacii occupied the southern parts of the kingdom of Tunis. 

8 Greek, Nomades, or wandering shepherds, from which the Latins 
formed the name Numidae. These people inhabited Algiers. 

9 Carthage extended as far west as the promontory of Tretum, now 
Sebta-Ras or the Seven Heads. From thence the Masylies inhabited as 
far as Cape Carbon ; and from thence the Masaesylii possessed the country 
as far as the river Molochath, now the Maluia, beyond which were the 
Maurusians extending to the Atlantic. 

10 Numidee. 

11 The climata are zones parallel to the equator. The ancients ge- 
nerally reckoned seven climata, which in the time of Hipparchus termi- 
nated at 48 30' 35", where the longest day consisted of sixteen hours. 
He however multiplied these divisions and extended them farther towards 
the poles. It is a great pity that Strabo has not noted all of them. 

CHAP. v. $ 34. INTRODUCTION. 199 

these too we shall give but a general description, commencing 
with those lines which we have denominated elementary, 
namely, those which determine the greatest length and breadth 
of the [habitable earth], but especially its breadth. 

To enter fully into this subject is the duty of astronomers. 
This has been done by Hipparchus, who has noted down (as 
he says) the differences of the heavenly appearances for every 
degree of that quarter of the globe in which our habitable 
earth is situated, namely, from the equator to the north pole. 

What is beyond our habitable earth it is not however the 
business of the geographer to consider. Nor yet even in re- 
gard to the various parts of the habitable earth must too mi- 
nute and numerous differences be noticed, since to the man 
of the world they are perplexing ; it will suffice to give the 
most striking and simple of the statements of Hipparchus. 
Assuming, as he does himself after the assertion of Eratos- 
thenes, that the circumference of the earth is 252,000 stadia, 
the differences oi' the [celestial] phenomena, will not be great 
for each [degree] within the limits between which the habitable 
earth is contained. Supposing we cut the grand circle of the 
earth into 360 divisions, each of these divisions will consist 
of 700 stadia. This is the calculation adopted by [Hippar- 
chus] to fix the distances, which [as we said] should be taken 
under the before-mentioned meridian of Meroe. He com- 
mences at the regions situated under the equator, and stopping 
from time to time at every 700 stadia along the whole length 
of the meridian above mentioned, proceeds to describe the 
celestial phenomena as they appear from each. But the 
equator is not the place for us to start from. For even if 
there be there a habitable region, as some suppose, it forms a 
habitable earth to itself, a narrow slip enclosed by the regions 
uninhabitable on account of the heat ; and can be no part of 
our habitable earth. Now the geographer should attend 
to none but our own habitable earth, which is confined 
by certain boundaries ; on the south by the parallel which 
passes Over the Cinnamon Country ; l on the north by that 
which passes over lerna. 2 But keeping in mind the scheme 
of our geography, we have no occasion to mark all the 
places comprehended within this distance, nor yet all the ce- 

1 According to Strabo, 12o 34' 17". * According to Strabo, 52o 25' 42 '. 


lestial phenomena. We must however commence, as Hippar- 
chus does, with the southern regions. 

35. He tells us that the people who dwell under the parallel 
of the Cinnamon Country, which he places at 3000 stadia 
south of Meroe, 1 and 8800 [north] of the equator, live nearly 
at equal distances between the equator and the summer tropic 
which passes by Syene ; for Syene is 5000 stadia [north] of 
Meroe. They are the first 2 for whom the whole [constellation] 
of the Lesser Bear is comprised within the Artie Circle, and 
to whom it is always visible. For the bright and most southern 
star, at the tip of the tail, is here contained within the Arctic 
Circle, and appears to touch the horizon. 

The Arabian Gulf lies eastward parallel to the said meri- 
dian. Its egress 3 into the Exterior Ocean is [in the same 
latitude as] the Cinnamon Country, the place where anciently 
they used to hunt the elephants. The parallel of the Cinna- 
mon Country on the one side 4 passes a little south of Tapro- 
bana, or perhaps over its southern extremit/'; and on the 
other side 5 over the most southern parts of Libya. 6 

36. At Meroe and Ptolemais 7 in the Troglodytic the longest 
day consists of thirteen equinoctial hours. These cities are at 
nearly equal distances between the equator and Alexandria, 
the preponderance on the side of the equator being only 1800 
stadia. The parallel of Meroe passes on one side 8 over un- 
known countries, and on the other 9 over the extremities of 
India. 10 At Syene, and at Berenice, which is situated on the 
Arabian Gulf and in the Troglodytic, at the summer sol- 
stice the sun is vertical, and the longest day consists of thirteen 
equinoctial hours and a half, and the whole of the Greater 
Bear appears within the Arctic Circle, with the exception of 
his thighs, the tip of his tail, and one of the stars composing 
his body. The parallel of Syene traverses on one side 11 the 

1 Now Gherri, on the banks of the Nile. 

2 i. e. they are the most southern of those for whom, &c. 

3 Bab-el-mandeb, The Gate of Tears. 4 The east. 5 The west. 

6 This passage proves that in Strabo's opinion the continent of Africa 
did not extend so far south as the equator, 

7 This town was sometimes called Ptolemais Epitheras, having been 
built by Eumedes in the reign of Philadelphus for the chase of elephants 
and other wild animals. 

8 On the west. 9 The east. 10 About Cape Comorin. 
11 The east. 

CHAP. v. 37-39. INTRODUCTION. 201 

portion of Gedrosia occupied by the Ichthyophagi, and India ; 
and on the other side l the countries situated south of Gyrene 
by rather less than 5000 stadia. 

37. In all the countries situated between the tropic and 
the equatorial circle, the shadows fall [alternately] on either 
side, north and south. In those which are north of Syene 
and beyond the summer tropic the shadows at mid-day fall to 
the north. The former are called amphiscii, the latter hete- 
roscii. There is also another method of determining what 
places are under the tropic, which we spoke of in our observ- 
ations on the zones. The soil is sandy, arid, and produces 
nothing but silphium, while more to the south the land is 
well irrigated and fertile. 

38. In the countries situated about 400 stadia south of the 
parallel of Alexandria and Cyrene, where the longest day con- 
sists of fourteen equinoctial hours, Arcturus passes the zenith, 
slightly declining towards the south. At Alexandria at the 
time of the equinox the proportion which the gnomon bears 
to the shadow is as five to seven. 2 Thus they are south of 
Carthage 1300 stadia, that is, admitting that in Carthage at 
the time of the equinox the proportion which the gnomon 
bears to the shadow is as eleven to seven. This parallel on 
the one side 3 passes by Cyrene and the regions 900 stadia 
south of Carthage as far as. the midst of Maurusia; 4 and on 
the other side 5 through Egypt, 6 Crelosyria, Upper Syria, 
Babylonia, Susiana, 7 Persia, 8 Carmania, 9 Upper Gedrosia, 10 
and India. 

39. AtPtolemais in Phoenicia, 11 and at Sidon 12 and Tyre, 13 
the longest day consists of fourteen hours and a quarter. These 
cities are north of Alexandria by about 1600 stadia, and 
north of Carthage about 700. In the Peloponnesus, and about 
the middle of Rhodes, at Xanthus 14 in Lycia, or a little to the 
south of this place, and at 400 stadia south of Syracuse, 15 the 
longest day consists of fourteen and a half equinoctial hours. 
These places are distant from Alexandria 3640 stadia .... 

I The west. - Kramer follows Gosselin in proposing to substitute 
rpi'a in place of tTrra. 3 The west side. 4 Algiers and Fez. 

5 The eastern side. e Lower Egypt is intended. 7 Khosistan. 
8 The modern province of Pars. Kerman. 10 Upper Mekran. 

II S. Jean d' Acre. 12 Seide. " Tsur. 
14 Eksenide. 15 Siragusa 

202 STRABO. 


This parallel, according to Eratosthenes, passes through Caria, 
Lycaonia, Cataonia, Media, the Caspian Gates, and India next 
the Caucasus. 1 

40. In the parts of the Troad next Alexandria 2 in Am- 
phipolis, 3 Apollonia in Epirus, 4 the countries just south of 
Rome and north of Neapolis, the longest day consists of fif- 
teen hours. This parallel is distant from that of Alexandria 
in Egypt 7000 stadia to the north, above 28,800 stadia north 
of the equator, and 3400 stadia from the parallel of Rhodes ; 
it is south of Byzantium, Nicoea, 5 and Marseilles 1500 stadia. 
The parallel of Lysimachia 6 is a little to the north, and ac- 
cording to Eratosthenes passes through Mysia, 7 Paphlagonia, 
Sinope, 8 Hyrcania, 9 and Bactra. 10 

41. About Byzantium the longest day consists of fifteen 
and a quarter equinoctial hours ; the proportion borne by the 
gnomon to the shadow at the summer solstice, is as 120 to 
42, minus one-fifth. These places are distant 11 from the mid- 
dle of Rhodes about 4900 stadia, and 30,300 from the equator. 
Sailing into the Euxine and advancing 1400 stadia to the 
north, the longest day is found to consist of fifteen and a half 
equinoctial hours. These places are equi-distant between the 
pole and equatorial circle ; the arctic circle is at their zenith, 
the star in the neck of Cassiopeia is within this circle, the 
star forming the right elbow of Pejseus being a little more to 
the north. 

42. In regions 3800 stadia north of Byzantium the longest 
day consists of sixteen equinoctial hours ; the constellation 
Cassiopeia being brought within the arctic circle. These 
regions are situated around [the mouth of] the Dnieper and 
the southern parts of the Masotis, at a distance from the equa- 
tor of 34,100 stadia; and the northern part of the horizon 
during almost all the summer nights is illuminated by the 
light of the sun ; a certain degree of light continuing from 
sunset to sunrise. For the summer tropic is distant from the 

1 Caria occupied the southern and western parts of Anadoli, near the 
Island of Rhodes. Lycaonia formed a part of the modern Karaman. Ca- 
taonia was comprised in Aladeuli. Media is now Irak-Adjami. The 
Caspian Gates are the defiles of Firouz-Koh. 

2 Eski-Stambul. 3 Emboli or Jamboli. 4 Polina. 

5 Isnik. 6 Eksemil. 7 Karasi in Anadoli. 8 Sinoub. 

9 Corcan and Daghistan. 10 Balk. " To the north. 


horizon only the half and the twelfth part of a sign l [of the 
zodiac], and this therefore is the greatest distance of the sun 
below the horizon at midnight. With us when the sun is at 
this distance from the horizon before sunrise and after sunset, 
the atmosphere is enlightened to the east and west respect- 
ively. In the winter the sun when at the highest is nine 
cubits above the horizon. 2 These places, according to Era- 
tosthenes, are distant from Meroe rather more than 23,000 
stadia, 3 for he says that [from the parallel of Meroe] to the 
Hellespont 4 there are 18,000 stadia, and thence to the Dnieper 
5000 more. In regions distant 6300 stadia from Byzan- 
tium, and north of the Maeotis, the sun during the winter 
time is, when highest, six cubits [above the horizon]. The 
longest day consists of seventeen hours. 

43. The countries beyond this which border upon the 
regions uninhabitable on account of their cold, have no inter- 
est to the geographer. He who desires to learn about them, 
and the celestial phenomena which Hipparchus has de- 
scribed, but which we pass over as being too much 'in detail 
for our present undertaking, must seek for them in that author. 
The statements of Posidonius concerning the periscii, the am- 
phiscii, and the heteroscii are likewise too detailed. Still we 
must touch on these points sufficiently to explain his view, 
and to point out how far such matters are serviceable in geo- 
graphy, and how far not. The terms made use of refer to 
the shadows cast from the sun. The sun appears to the senses 
to describe a circle parallel to that of the earth. 5 Of those 
people for whom each revolution of the earth produces a day 
and a night, the sun being carried first over, then under, 
the earth, some are denominated amphiscii, others hete- 
roscii. The amphiscii are the inhabitants of countries in 
which when a gnomon is placed perpendicularly on a plane 
surface, the shadow which it casts at mid-day, falls first to 
one side then to the other, as the sun illumines first this side, 
then that. This however only occurs in places situated be- 
tween the tropics. The heteroscii are those amongst whom 
the shadow always falls to the north, as with us ; or to the 

1 Or 17 30'. This would indicate a latitude of 48 38' 40". 
8 The astronomical cubit was equal to two degrees. 
3 Read 23,100. * The northern extremity of the Hellespont, 

the universe. 

204 STRABO. B. ii. c. v. 43. 

south, as amongst those who inhabit the other temperate zone. 
This occurs in all those regions where the arctic circle is less 
than the tropic. Where however it becomes the same as or 
greater than the tropic, this shows the commencement of the 
periscii, who extend thence to the pole. In regions where 
the sun remains above the horizon during an entire revolution 
of the earth, the shadow must evidently have turned in a com- 
plete circle round the gnomon. On this account he named 
them periscii. However they have nought to do with geo- 
graphy, inasmuch as the regions are not habitable on account 
of the cold, as we stated in our review of Pytheas. Nor is 
there any use in determining the size of this uninhabitable 
region, [it is enough to have established] that those countries, 
having the tropic for their arctic circle, are situated beneath 
the circle which is described by the pole of the zodiac l in the 
[diurnal] revolution of the earth, and that the distance be- 
tween the equator and the tropic equals four-sixtieths of the 
great circle [of the earth]. 

1 The pole of the ecliptic. 



1 . HAVING thus given a general view of Geography, it will 
now be proper to describe each separate country in detail, as 
we engaged to do. We fancy that the method which we have 
adopted in the division of our subject, up to this point, has 
been correct ; and we now re-commence with Europe and the 
various countries into which it is divided, on the same prin- 
ciples as formerly, and induced by the same reasons. 

2. The first division of this continent towards the west is 
Iberia, as we before stated. The greater part of this country 
is~but little fitted_fbr habitation ; consisting chiefly of moun- 
tamsT^ooo 1 ^ and plains~covered with a light meagre soil, the 

^irrigation of which is likewise uncertain. The part next the 
north, which borders on the oceanTTs extremely cold, and be- 
sides its rugged character, has no communication or inter- 
course with other [countries], and thus to dwell there is at- 
tended with peculiar hardship. Such is the character of this 
portion ; on the other hand, almost the whole of the south^is 
fertile, especially what is bevond_Jhe JE > !U. ars [f Hercules]. 
"TRis however will be shown more in detail, but we must first 
describe the figure and extent [of the country]. 

3. In shape it resembles a hide stretched out in length from 
west to east, the forepart l towards the east, its breadth being 
from north to south. Its length is about 6000 stadia ; the 
greatest breadth is 5000; while there are parts considerably less 

1 The neck, &c. 

206 STRABO. CAS. 137.* 

than 3000, particularly in the vicinity of the Pyrenees, which 
form the eastern side. This chain of mountains stretches with- 
out interruption from north to south, 1 and divides Keltica 2 
from Iberia. The breadth both of Keltica and Iberia is irre- 
gular, the narrowest part in both of them from the Mediter- 
ranean to the [Atlantic] Ocean being near the Pyrenees, 
particularly on either side of that chain ; this gives rise to 
gulfs both on the side of the Ocean, and also of the Mediterra- 
nean ; the largest of these are denominated the Keltic or Ga- 
latic Gulfs, 3 and they render the [Keltic] Isthmus narrower 
than that of Iberia. 4 The Pyrenees form the. eastern side of 
I jlberia, and the MediterranealTThTsouTEer^fi'om the Pyrenees 
to the Pillars of Hercules, thence the extenoSFTocean'T r "a's far 
as the Sacred Promontory. 6 The third or western side runs 
V nearlyjg'arallel tojthe Pyrenees from the Sacred "Promontory 
f to thepromontbry of the Artabri, called [Cape] Nerium. 7 
The fourth side extends hence to the northern extremity of 
the Pyrenees. 

4. We will now commence our detailed account, beginning 
from the Sacred Promontory. This is the most_westem jDoint 
not only of Europe, but of the whole habitable earth. For 
the habitable earth is bounded to the west by two continents, 
namely, the extremities of Europe and Libya, 8 which are inha- 
bited respectively by the Iberians and the Maurusians. 9 But 
the Iberian extremity, at the promontory 10 we have mentioned, 
juts out beyond the other as much as 1500 stadia. 11 The re- 
gion adjacent to this cape they call in the Latin tongue Cu- 

* Note. The pages of Casaubon's edition of 1620 are given to facili- 
tate reference to various editions and translations of Strabo. 

1 The Pyrenees, on the contrary, range from east to west, with a slight 
inclination towards the north. This error gives occasion to several of the 
mistakes made by Strabo respecting the course of certain of the rivers in 

2 France. 3 The Gulfs of Lyons and Gascony. 

* Gosselin remarks that the distance between S. Jean de Luz and Tar- 
ragona, is rather less than that between Bayonne and Narbonne. 

5 The Atlantic. 6 Cape St. Vincent. 7 Cape Finisterre. 

8 Africa. 9 The Mauritanians. " 10 Cape St. Vincent. 

11 Cape St. Vincent is about 1600 stadia west of Cape Spartel in Africa. 
Strabo imagined that beyond this cape the African coast inclined to the 
south-east. In reality it advances eleven degrees and a half farther west 
to Cape Verd, which is 8 '29' west of Cape St. Vincent. 

B. in. c. i. { 5 SPAIN 207 

neum, 1 which signifies a wedge. The promontory which 
projects into the sea, Artemidorus (who states that he has 
himself been at the place) compares to a ship ; three little 
islands, [he says,] each having a small harbour, contribute 
to give it this form ; the former island resembling the beak 
of the ship, and the two latter the beams on each side 
of the ship's bows. [He adds] that there is no temple of 
Hercules shown there, as Ephorus falsely states, nor yet 
any altar [to him] nor to any other divinity ; but m many 
parts there are three or four stones placed together, which are 
turned by all travellers who arrive there, m "accordance with 
a certain local custom, and are changed in position by such as 
turn them incorrectly. 2 It is not lawful to offer sacrifice there, 
nor yet to approach the place during the night, for it is 
said that then the gods take^u^_their_abode at the place. 
Those who go thither to view it stay at a neighbouring village 
over-night, and proceed to the place on the morrow, carrying 
water with them, as there is none to be procured there. 

5. It is quite possible that these things are so, and we ought 
not to disbelieve them. Not so however with regard to the 
other common and vulgar reports ; for Posidonius tells us the 
common people say that in the countries next the ocean the 
sun appears larger jts^ he sets, and makes a noise resembling 
^Ee^oumTof hot metal in cold water, as though the sea were 
hissing as the sun was submerged in its depths. The state- 
ment [of Artemidorus] is also false, that night folio wsjmme- 
diately on the setting of the sun : it does not follow immedi- 
ately, although certainJYjhe interval is short, as in other great 
seas. For when he setsbehind mountains the agency of the 
false light continues the day for a long period ; over the sea 
the twilight is shorter, still darkness does not immediately 
supervene. The same thing may be remarked in large plains. 
The image of the sun is enlarged on the seas at its rising as 
well as at its setting, because at these times a larger mass of 

1 Herodotus is the first who speaks of a people of Iberia, to whom he 
gives the name of Kuvr/o-toi or KvvijTeg: he describes them as inhabiting 
the most western part of Europe, beyond the Pillars of Hercules. 

2 This passage of Strabo relative to the rocking-stones has occasioned 
much perplexity to the critics. We have attempted to render the Greek 
words as near as possible. Many curious facts relative to rocking and 
amber stones have been collected by Jabez Allies, F. S. A., in his work 
on the Antiquities of Worcestershire, now in the press. 

208 STEABO. CAS. 138. 

exhalations rises from the humid element ; and the eye looking 
through these exhalations, sees images refracted into larger 
forms, as observed through tubes. The same thing happens 
when the setting sun or moon is seen through a dry and thin 
cloud, when those bodies likewise appear reddish. l Posidonius 
tells us that, having himself passed thirty days at Gades, 2 
during which time he carefully observed the setting of the 
sun, he is convinced of the falsity of Artemidorus's account. 
This latter writer tells us, that at the time of its setting the 
sun appears a hundred times larger than its ordinary size, and 
that night immediately succeeds. If we attend to his account, 
we cannot believe that he himself remarked this phenomenon 
at the Sacred Promontory, 3 for he tells us that no one can 
approach during the night ; therefore they cannot approach at 
sunset, since night immediately supervenes thereupon. Nei- 
ther did he observe it from any other part of the coast washed 
by the ocean, for Gades is upon the ocean, and both Posido- 
nius and many others testify that there such is not the case. 

6. The sea-coast next the Sacred Promontory forms on 
one side the commencement of the western coast of Spain as 
far as the outlet of the river Tagus ; and on the other forms 
the southern coast as far as the outlet of another river, named 
the Guadiana. 4 Both of these rivers descend from the eastern 
parts [of Spain] ; but the former, which is much larger than 
the other, pursues a straight course towards the west, while the 
Guadiana bends its course towards the south. 5 They enclose 
an extent of country peopled for the most part by Kelts and 

1 We extract the following notice on this passage from Humboldt (Cos- 
mos, vol. iii. 54, Bonn's edition). " This passage has recently been 
pronounced corrupt, (Kramer i. 211,) and di vdXwv (through glass 
spheres) substituted for Si av\u>v (Schneider, Eclog. Phys. ii. 273). 
The magnifying power of hollow glass spheres, filled with water, (Seneca 
i. 6,) was, indeed, as familiar to the ancients as the action of burning 
glasses or crystals, (Aristoph. Nub. v. 765,) and that of Nero's emerald 
(Plin. xxxvii. 5) ; but these spheres most assuredly could not have been 
employed as astronomical measuring instruments. (Compare Cosmos i. p. 
619.) Solar altitudes taken through thin light clouds, or through volcanic 
vapours, exhibit no trace of the influence of refraction." 

2 Cadiz. 3 Cape St. Vincent. * "Avag. 

5 The Tagus, the Guadiana, and the Guadalquiver, pursue a course 
nearly parallel to each other, and all incline towards the south before dis- 
charging themselves into the sea ; the inclination of the Tagus is not equal 
to that of the other rivers. 

B. in. c. i. 6. SPAIN. 209 

certain Lusitanians, 1 whom the Romans caused to settle here 
from the opposite side of the Tagus. Higher up, the country 
is inhabited by the Carpetani, 2 the Oretani, 3 and a large num- 
ber of Vettones. 4 . This district is moderately fertile, but that 
which is beyond it to the east and south, does not give place 
in superiority to any part of the habitable earth with which 
it may be compared, in the excellence of its productions both 
of land and sea. This is the country through which the river 
Guadalquiver 5 flows. This river takes its rise irom the same 
*paHs as the Guadiaha 6 and the Taguo, and is between these 
two in size. 7 Like the Guadiana, the commencement of its 
course flows towards the west, but it afterwards turns to the 
south, and discharges itself at the same side of the coast as 
that river. 

From this river 5 the country has received the name of 
Beetica ; it is called Turdetania by the inhabitants, who are 
"themselves denominated Turdetani, and Turduli. Some think 
these two names refer to one nation, while others believe that 
they designate two distinct people. Of this latter opinion 
is Polybius, who imagines that the Turduli dwell more to 
the north than the Turdetani. At the present day however 
there does not appear to be any distinction between them. 
These people are esteemed to be the most intelligent of all 
the_Iberians ; they have a^njalphabet, and possess ancient 
writings, oems, and metrical laws six thousand Ygars^old. as 
tKejTsay. The other Iberians are likewise furnished with an 
aTghaBet, altboughliot or the same form, nor do they speak the 
samejanguage. TEeTr country,*~~which Ts~on tins ""side"* the 

1 Lusitania occupied the greater part of the present kingdom of Portu- 
gal. It was from the countries north of the Tagus that the Romans 
caused certain of the inhabitants to emigrate to the south side of that 

2 The Carpetani occupied a portion of New Castile, where the cities of 
Madrid, Toledo, &c. are now situated. 

3 These people inhabited the southern portions of New Castile, now oc- 
cupied by the cities of Calatrava, Ciudad-real, Alcaraz, &c. They also 
possessed a part of the Sierra-Morena. 

4 The Vettones inhabited that part of Estremadura, where the cities 
of Alcantara, Truxillo, &c. are now situated. 

5 Baetis. Anas. 

7 The course of the Guadiana is longer than that of the Guadal- 

8 Viz. Turdetania. 

VOL. i. P 

210 STRABO. CASAUB. 139 

Guadiana, extends eastward as far as Oretania, 1 and southward 
along the sea-coast from the outlets of the Guadiana to the 
Pillars [of Hercules]. But it is necessary that I should enter 
into "further particulars concerning this and the neighbouring 
places, in order to illustrate their excellence and fertility. 

7. Between this coast, where the Guadalquiver and Guadi- 
ana discharge themselves, and the extremities of Maurusia, 
the Atlantic Ocean forms the strait at the Pillars [of Hercules] 
by which it is connected with the Mediterranean. Here is 
situated Calpe, 2 the mountain of the Iberians who are de- 
nominated Bastetani, by others Bastuli. Its circumference is 
not large, but it is so high and steep as to resemble an island in 
the distance. Sailing from the Mediterranean into the At- 
lantic, it is left on the right hand. At a distance of 40 stadia 
from this [mountain] is the considerable and ancient city of 
Carteia, formerly a marine jiraenal of the Iberians. Some 
assert that it was foundedby Hercules ; of tEis number is 
Timosthenes, 3 who tells us it was anciently called Heraclasa, 
and that vas^ walls and ship-sheds are still shown. 

8. Next to these is Mellaria, 4 where they make salted pro- 
visions. After this the city and river 5 of Belo. Here the 

merchandise and salted provisions for Tingis in Maurusia are 
principally shipped. There was a city named Zelis 6 near to 
Tingis, but the Romans transferred it to the opposite coast 
[of Spain], and having placed there in addition some of the 
inhabitants of Tingis, and sent over also some of their own 
people, they then gave to the city the name of Julia Joza. 7 
Beyond this is Gadeira, 8 an island separated from Turdetania 
by a narrow strait, and distant from Calpe about 750 stadia, 
or, as others say, 800. This island has nothing to distinguish 
it above others, but owing to the boldness of its people in 

1 The mountainous country in which the Guadalquiver takes its source. 

2 The rock of Gibraltar. 

3 This Timosthenes was the admiral of Ptolemy II. Strabo mentions 
him repeatedly. 

4 The place on which this town formerly stood is now designated Val 
de Vacca. 

5 Rio Barbate. 6 Now Azzila. 

7 Called by Pliny and Ptolemy Julia Tramducta. It appears to have 
been situated at the western entrance of the Bay of Gibraltar, at the place 
now called Al-Gesira. 

8 jCadiz. 

B. in. c. i. 9. SPAIN. 

their expeditions by sea, and their friendship witl 
mans, has attained to that pitch of good fortune, that 
situated at the farthest extremities of the earth, it pL^coses a 
greater celebrity than any other island. But we will describe 
it when we come to speak of the other islands. 

9. Next after [Cadiz] is the port of Menestheus, 1 and the 
estuary near to Asta and Nebrissa. 2 These estuaries are val- 
leys filled by the sea during its flood-tides, up which you may 
sail into the interior, and to the cities built on them, in the same 
way as you sail up a river. Immediately after are the two out- 
lets of the Guadalquiver. 3 The island embraced by these mouths 
has a coast of a hundred stadia, or rather more according to 
others. Hereabouts is the Orjacje of Menestheus, 4 and the tower 
of Caspio, 5 built upon a pock and washed on all sides by the 
sea. This is an admirable w r ork, resembling the Pharos, and 
constructed for the safety of vessels. For the mud carried 
out by the river forms shallows, and sunken rocks are also 
scattered before it, so that a beacon was greatly needed. 
Thence sailing up the river is the city of Ebura. 6 and the 
temple of Phosphorus, 7 which they call Lux Dubia. s You 
then pass up the other estuaries ; and after these the river 
Guadiana, which has also two mouths, 9 up either of which you 
may sail. Lastly, beyond is the Sacred Promontory, 10 distant 
from Gadeira 11 less than 2000 stadia. Some say that from 
the Sacred Promontory to the mouth of the Guadiana there 
are 60 miles ; thence to the mouth of the Guadalquiver 100 ; 
and from this latter place to Gadeira 70. 

1 An Athenian king, who led the Athenians against Troy. The port 
of Menestheus is now Puerto Sta. Maria. 

2 Hodie Lebrixa. 3 Baetis. 

4 At or near the port of Menestheus, just mentioned. 

5 Quintus Servilius Ceepio, a famous Roman general. Vide lib. iv. c. 
i. 13. 

6 This city is not to be confounded with others of the same name in Spain. 

7 Strabo is the only writer who speaks of this temple of Phosphorus. 
It was no doubt a temple to Diana, who was named "Aprtyuc *wff0opog. 
This temple, according to the "Spanish authors quoted by Lopez in his 
translation of Strabo, corresponds to the present San-Lucar de Barrameda. 

8 Strabo here gives the Latin Lucem ditbiam in Greek characters, 
A-OVKep Sovfiiav. 

9 The Guadiaua at-the present day has but one mouth. 

10 Cape St. Vincent. u Cadiz. 

p 2 

212 STRABO. CASAUB. 141. 


1. TURDETANIA lies above the coast on this side the Guadi- 
ana, 1 and is intersected by the river GuajMcjuiver. 2 It is 
bounded on the west and north by the river Guadiana ; on the 
east by certain of the Carpetani and the Oretani ; on the south 
by those of the Bastetani who inhabit the narrow slip of coast 
between Calpe and Gadeira, and by the sea beyond as far as the 
Guadiana. The Bastetani whom I have mentioned, together 
with the people on the other side the Guadiana, and many of 
the places adjacent, belong to Turdetania. The size of this 
country in its length and breadth does not exceed two thousand 
stadia, still it contains a vast^umiber of towns ; twojyiadred, it 
is said. Those best knownare^ituated / onthe rivers, estuaries, 
and sea ; but the two which have acquired the greatest name and 
importance are, Corduba, foundeji^X-M^C.eJlus, 3 and the city 
of the Gaditanians. 4 The latter for its naval importance, and 
its alliance with the Romans ; and the former on account of its 
fertility and extent, a considerable portion of the Guadalquiver 
flowing by it ; in addition to this it has been from its com- 
mencement inhabited by picked men, whether natives or Ro- 
mans ; and it was the first colony planted by the Romans in 
these parts. 

After this city and that of the Gaditanians, Hispalis 5 is the 
most noted. Thisalso is a Roman colony. Commerce is still 

1 Anas. 2 Baetis. 

3 Cordova, situated on the Guadalquiver in Andalusia. We do not 
know~"wn"ether it were founded by the Marcellus who was praetor in 
Thither Iberia, and created consul in the year of Rome 601, or Mar- 
cellus who joined Pompey's party against Caesar. This city served for 
the winter quarters of the Jiofflans, who during: summer made war on the 
inhabitants"of the westein and nor thern^^rts ~of_S p aim It was the na- 
trveTplace of the two Senecas and Lucan, and the chief emporium of 
Ibejria. We may f5rm some idea "oftEe amount "of its popukticm from 
the number of those who perished when taken by Csesar, as narrated by 
Hirtius, Spanish War, 34. But the period in which Cordova's glory 
was at its zenith was during the empire of the Moors, in the eighth, ninth, 
and tenth centuries, when it numbered 300,000 inhabitants. 

4 Cadijs. 

5 Seville. This city was surnamed Julia Romulensis. It was founded 
by_Cjesar, and regarded as the second city of the province, alth~ougn7~as 
we see, in the time of Strabo it was only third-rate. 

B. in. c. ii. $ 2, 3. SPAIN. 213 

carried on here, although at the present moment the city or * 
Baetis l though not so finely built, is outshining it, on account 
of the honour it has received from the soldiers of Caesar tak- 
ing up their quarters there. 

2. After these are Italica, 2 and Ilipa, 3 situated on the Gua- 
dalquiver ; farther on are Astygis, 4 Carmo, 5 and Obulco ; 
and besides these Munda, 6 Ategua, Urso, 7 Tukkis, 8 Julia, 9 
and -ZEgua, where the sons of Pompey were defeated. None of 
these places_are far from Corduba. " Munda is in some sort' 
regardecTas thelnetropolis of the whole district. This place 
is distant from Carteia 1400 10 stadia, and it was here that 
Cnreus fled after his defeat, and sailing thence landed on a 
rocky height overlooking the sea, where he was murdered. 
His brother Sextus, having escaped from Corduba, after car- 
rying on the war for a short time in Spain, caused a revolt 
in Sicily. Flying thence into Asia he was seized at Mi- 
letus n by the generals 12 of Antony, and executed. Amongst 
theJKelts the most famous place is Conistorgis. 13 Upon the 
estuaries is Asta, 14 in which the Gaditani mostly hold their 
assemblies ; it is opposite the sea-port of the island, at a dis- 
tance of not more than 100 stadia. 

3. A vast number of people dwell along the Guadalquiver ; 

and you may sail up it almost 1200 stadia from the sea to Cor- 
duba, and the' places a little higher up. The banks and little 
islets of this river are cultivated with the greatest diligence. 

1 Strabo is the only writer who mentions this city of Bsetis. Casanbon 
and others are inclined to the opinion that the MSS. are corrupted, and 
that formerly another name stood here. 

2 This city, the native place of the emperors Trajan and Adrian, and 
the poet Silius Italicus, was founded by Publius Scipio in the second 
Punic war, who placed here the soldiers inca.p.fyUa fp( l frf)m tne perform- 
ance of military service. It is supposed to correspond to Sevilla la Vieja, 
about a league distant from Seville. 

3 The Ilipa Ilia of Pliny and Illipula Magna of Ptolemy. Its exact 
position is not determined. 

4 Hodie Ecija on the Xenil. 5 Carmona. 

6 Mjonda, sevenJeagues west of Malaga. 7 Osuna. 

8 Hodie Martos, Pliny gave it the surname of Augusta Gemella. 

9 The Itucci of Pliny, to which he gives the surname Virtus Julia. 
We should probably read 430. 

11 Kramer, using the criticism of Lachmann, observes that this is a mis- 
reading for Midaium, and that a like mistake occurs in Appian. 

12 Furnius and Titius. 13 In Lusitania. 

14 About the spot where this city is supposed to have stood, between 
Xerez and Tribugena, there is still a place called Mesa de Asta. 

214 STRABO. CASAUB. 142. 

The eye is also delighted with groves and gardens, which in 
this district are met with in the highest perfection. As far 
as Ispalis, which is a distance of not less than 500 stadia, the 
river^is navigable for ships l of considerable size; buTlor the 
cities higher up, as far as Ilipas, smaller vessels are employed, 
and thence to Corduba river-boats. These are now con- 
structed of _plan.ks joined together, but they were formerly 
niade out of a single jrunk. Above this to Castlon the river is 
no longer navigable. A chain of mountains, rich jn metal, 
runs parallel to the Guadalquiver, 2 approaching the river some- 
times more, sometimes less, towards the north. 

There is much silver found in the parts about Ilipas and 
Sisapo, boj;h in that which is called the old town and the new. 
There are copper and gold about the CotinaB. 3 These moun- 
tains are on the left as you sail up the river ; on the right 
there is a vast and elevated plain^Jertile, full of large trees, and 
containing excellent pasturage. The Guadiana 4 is likewise 
navigable, but not for vessels equally large, nor yet so far up. 
It is also bordered by mountains containing metal, and ex- 
tends as far as the Tagus. Districts which contain metals must, 
of necessity, be rugged and poor T 5 as indeed are those ad- 
joining Carpetania, and still more those next the jelti- 
berians. The same is the case with Baeturia, the plains of 
"which, bordering on the Guadiana, are arid. 

4. Turdetania, on the other hand, is marvellously fertile, 
and abounds in every species of produce. The value of its 
productions is doubled by means of exportation, the sur- 
plus products finding a ready sale amongst the numerous 
ship-owners. This results from its rivers and estuaries, which, 
as we have said, resemble rivers, and by which you may sail 
from the sea to the inland towns, not only in small, but even 
in large-sized skiifs. For the whole country above the 
coast, and situated between the Sacred Promontory 6 and the 
Pillars, consists of an extended plain. Here in many places 
anTliollowls running inland Irom the sea, which resemble 
moderately-sized ravines or the beds of rivers, and extend 

1 Strabo uses o\icdffiv ato\6yoi, but the English hulk would not bear 
the same import in this place as the Greek. 

2 Bcetis. 3 Cotillas, or perhaps Constantina near Almaden. * Anas. 
5 Experience does not seem to warrant this conclusion. 

8 Cape St. Vincent. 

n. in. c. ii. 5. SPAIN. 215 

for many stadia. These are filled by the approach of the sea 
at high tide, and may be navigated as easily, or even more 
so than rivers. They are navigated much the same as rivers ; 
the sea, meeting with no obstacle, enters like the flow of a river 
at flood-tide. The sea comes in here with greater force than 
in the other places ; for being forced from the wide ocean in- 
to the narrow strait, 1 formed by the coast of Maurusia and 
Iberia, it experiences recoils, and thus is borne full into the 
retiring parts of the land. Some of these shallows are left 
dry as the tide ebbs, while others are never destitute of water ; 
others again contain islands, of this kind are the estuaries 
between the Sacred Promontory 2 and the Pillars, where the 
tide comes in with more violence than at other places. Such 
a tide is of considerable advantage to sailors, since it makes 
the estuaries both fuller and more spacious, frequently swell- 
ing them to a breadth of eight 3 stadia, so that the whole land, so 
to speak, is rendered navigable, thus giving wonderful facility 
both for the export and import of merchandise. Nevertheless 
there is some inconvenience. For in the navigation of the 
rivers, the sailors run considerable danger both in ascend- 
ing and descending, owing to the violence with which the 
flood-tide encounters the current of the stream as it flows 
down. The ebb-tides are likewise the cause of much damage 
in these estuaries, for resulting as they do from the same 
cause as the flood-tides, they are frequently so rapid as to 
leave the vessel on dry land ; and herds in passing over to the 
islands that are in these estuaries are sometimes drowned [in 
the passage] and sometimes surprised in the islands, and en- 
deavouring to cross back again to the continent, are unable, 
and perish in the attempt. They say that certain of the 
cattle, having narrowly observed what takes place, wait till 
the sea has retired, and then cross over to the main-land. 

5. The men [of the country], being well acquainted with 
the nature of these places, and that the estuaries would very 
well answer the same purpose as rivers, founded cities and 
other settlements along them the same as along rivers. Of 
this number are Asta, Nebrissa, 4 Onoba, 5 Ossonoba, Maenoba, 

1 Of Gibraltar. 2 Cape St. Vincent. 

3 The text here is evidently corrupt, but it is not easy to determine to 
what extent the overflow reached at the time Strabo wrote. 

4 Lebrixa. 5 Gibraleon. 

21 6 STRABO. CASAUB. 143. 

besides many others. The canals which have been cut in 
various directions are also found usefujjnjbhe^tiaffic which is 
carriecTon between place and place, both amongst the people 
themselves and with foreigners. The conflux of water at the 
flood-tides is also valuable, as rendering navigable the isthmuses 
which separate the different pieces of water, thus making it 
possible to ferry over from the rivers into the estuaries, and 
from the estuaries into the rivers. Their trade is wholly carried 
on with Italy and Rome. The navigation is excellent as far 
as the Pillars, (excepting perhaps some little difficulties at the 
Strait,) and equally so on the Mediterranean, where the voyages 
are very calm, especially to those who keep the high seas. This 
is a great advantage to merchant-vessels. The winds on the 
high seas blow regularly ; and peace reigns there now, the 
pirates having been put down, so that in every respect the 
voyage is facile. Posidonius tells us he observed the singular 
phenomenon in his journey from Iberia, 1 that in this sea, as 
far as the Gulf of Sardinia, the south-east 2 winds blow pe- 
riodically. And on this account he strove in vain for three 
whole months to reach Italy, being driven about by the winds 
against the Gymnesian islands, 3 Sardinia, and the opposite 
coasts of Libya. 

6. Large quantities of ^orn and wine are exported from 
Turdetania, besides much. oil, which is of the first quality; 4 
also wax, honey, pitch, large quantities of the kermes- 
berryj^nd vermilion not inferior to that of Sinope. 6 The 
country furnishes the timber for their shipbuilding. They 
have likewise imnraL_salt, and not a few salt streams. 
A considerable quantity of salted fish is exported, not 
only from hence, but also from the remainder of the coast 
beyond the Pillars, equal to that of Pontus. Formerly they 
exported large quantities of garments, but they now send the 
[unmanufactured] wool, which is superior even to that of 

1 Spain. 2 oe Evpoi. 3 Majorca and Minorca. 

4 In his third book, Strabo, speaking of Campania, regards the oil of 
Vcnai'rum as superior to any other. In this he agrees with Pliny, who 
places in the second class the oils of Baetica and Istria. Pausanias con- 
siders these two oils, both for beauty of colour and excellence of flavour, 
inferior to that produced at Tithorea in Phocis, and which was sent to 
Rome for the service of the emperor's table. 

5 Coccus tinctorius, used to dye scarlet. 

6 Sinoub, still a Turkish city of importance. 

B. in. c. ii. 6. SPAIN. 217 

the Coraxi, 1 and remarkable for its beauty. Rams for the pur- 
pose of covering fetch a talent. The stuffs manufactured by 
the Saltiatae 2 are of incomparable texture. There is a super- 
abundance of cattle, and a great variety of game : while, on 
the other hand, of destructive animals there are scarcely any, 
with the exception of certain little hares which burrow in the 
ground, and are called by some leberides. 3 These creatures 
destroy both seeds and trees by gnawing their roots. They 
are met with throughout almost the whole of Iberia, 4 and 
extend to Marseilles, infesting likewise the islands. It is said 
that formerly the inhabitants of the Gymnesian islandaJ, 
sent a deputation to the Romans soliciting that a new land 
might be given them, as they were quite driven out of their 
country by these animals, being no longer able to stand against 
their vast multitudes. 6 It is possible that people should be 
obliged to Iiave recourse to such an expedient for help in 
waging war in so great an extremity, which however but sel- 
dom happens, and is a plague produced by some pestilential 
state of the atmosphere, which at other times has produced 
serpents and rats in like abundance ; but for the ordinary in- 
crease of these little hares, many ways of hunting have been 
devised, amongst others by wild cats from Africa, 7 trained for 
the purpose. Having muzzled these, they turn them into the 
holes, when they either drag out the animals they find there 
with their claws, or compel them to fly to the surface of the 
earth, where they are taken by people standing by for that 
purpose. The large amount of the exports from Turdetania 
is evinced by the size and number of their ships. Merchant- 
izesail thence to Dicaearch'ia 8 and 

1 A people inhabiting the western parts of the Caucasus. 

2 This name occurs only irTStrabo: of the various conjectures which 
have been hazarded on the subject, one of the most probable seems to be that 
we should read Saltigetse, a people of Bastetania, mentioned by Ptolemy. 

3 These were evidently rabbits. * Spain. 

5 Majorca and Minorca., 

6 According to Pliny, (lib. viii. c. 55,) this deputation was sent to 
Augustus to demand of him a military force, apparently for the purpose 
of assisting the inhabitants in destroying the rabbits. The same writer 
has brought together a variety of instances in which cities have been 
abandoned or destroyed through similar causes. Vide lib. viii. c. 29. The 
inhabitants of Abdera in Thrace were forced to quit their city on account 
of the rats and frogs, and settled on the frontiers of Macedonia. (Justin. 
lib. xv. c. 2.) 7 Ferrets. 8 Pozzuolo. 

218 STRABO. CASAUB. 115. 

Ostia, a Roman port ; they are in number nearly equal to thgge 
which arrive from Libya: " > /J/T./l^V^C- 

V. Such is the wealth of tM inlanapart of Turdetania, 
and its maritime portions are found fully to equal it in the 
richness of their sea-productions. In fact, oysters and 
every variety of shell-fish, remarkable both for their number 
and size, are found along the whole of the exterior sea, but 
here in particular. It is probable that the flow and ebb tides, 
which are particularly strong here, contribute both to their 
quantity and size, on account of the great number of pools and 
standing waters which they form. 1 The same is the case with 
regard to all kinds of cetacea, narwhals, whales, and physe- 
teri, 2 which when they blow [up the water from their snouts] 
appear to observers from a distance to resemble a cloud shaped 
like a column. The congers are quite monstrous, far surpass- 
ing in size those of our [sea] ; 3 so are the lampreys, and many 
other fish of the same kind. It is said that in Carteia there 
are kerukae 4 and cuttle-fish which would contain as much as 
ten cotylae. 5 In the parts more exterior there are lampreys 
and congers weighing 80 mince, 6 and polypes" a talent, 7 also 
teuthidae 8 two cubits in length, with other fish in proportion. 
jShoak^of rich fat thmmj_are driven hither from the sea-coast 
beyond. They feed on the fruit of a species of stunted oak, 
which grows_at the bottom of jhe_sea. and produces very large 
acorns. The same_oaks grow in large numbers ^throughout 
theland of Iberia, their roots are~oTT;he same size as those of 
tn~e full-grown oak, although the tree itself never attains the 
height of a low shrub. So great is the quantity of fruit which 
it produces, that at the season when they are ripe, the whole 
coast on either side of the Pillars is covered with acorns 
which have been thrown up by the tides : the quantity however 

1 We have here followed Gosselin's suggestion of Xi^vaaiav instead 
of, the reading of MSS. 

2 A kind of whale, mentioned also by Aristotle, but which does not 
seem to have been identified. 

3 The Mediterranean. 

4 A kind of shell-fish with a wreathed shell, which might be used as a 
sort of trumpet. It is mentioned by Aristotle. 

5 The cotyla held about three-fourths of a pint. 

6 This weight equalled 15 oz. 83| grs. 

7 The Euboic or Attic talent, which is here meant, equalled almost 
57 Ib. 

8 A kind of cuttle-fish or squid. 

B. in. c. ii. 8. SPAIN. 219 

is always less on this side the Pillars [than on the other]. Po- 
lybius states that these acorns are ejected [by the sea] as far 
as [the shores of] Latium, unless, he adds, Sardo l and the 
neighbouring districts also produce them. The thunny-fish 
become gradually thinner, owing to the failure of their food, 
as they approach the Pillars from the outer sea. This fish, 
in fact, may be regarded as a kind of sea-hog, being fond of 
the acorn, and growing marvellously fat upon it ; and when- 
ever acorns are abundant, thunny-fish are abundant likewise. 
8. Of the various riches of the aforenamed country, 2 not 
the least is its wealth in metals : this every one will particu- 
larly esteem and admire. Of metals, in fact, the whole country 
of the Iberians is full, although it is not equally fertile and 
flourishing throughout, especially in those parts where the 
metals most abound. It is seldom that any place is blessed 
with both these advantages, and likewise seldom that the dif- 
ferent kinds of metals abound in one small territory. Tur- 
detania, however, and~the surrounding" districts surpass so 
entirely in this respect, that however you may wish, words 
cannot convey their excellence. Gold, silver, copper, and 
iron^-QMLJD a mount and of similar quality, not having been 
hitherto discovered in any'other part of the world. 3 Gold is 
not only dug from the mines, but likewise collected; sand 
containing gold being washed downJjYjhe rivers andUorrents. 
It is frequently met with in aricTdistricts^ but here the gold 
is not visible to the sight, whereas in those which are over- 
flowed the grains of gold are seen glittering. On this account 
they cause water to flow over the arid places in order to make 
the grains shine ; they also dig pits, and make use of other 
contrivances for washing the sand, and separating the gold 
from it ; so that at the presentTcTay more gold is procured by 
washing than by digging it from the mines. The Galataj 
affirm that the mines along the Kemmenus mountains 4 and 
their side of the Pyrenees are superior ; but most people prefer 
those on this side. They say that sometimes amongst the 

1 Sardinia. 2 Turdetania. 

3 The, mineral riches of Spain are lauded in egtmLtenns by Herodo-, 
tug, Aristotle^ Pliny, and many other writers. Wecan only remark, that 
STthe present day the mineral wealth of that country scarcely justifies 
such descriptions. 

4 The Cevennes. 

220 STRABO. CASAUB. 146. 

grains of gold lumps havejeenjbund weighingjhalf apoand T 
these they"call palce; they need but little refining? 1 They 
also say that in splitting open stones they find small lumps, 
resembling paps. And that when they have melted the gold. 
and purified it by means of a. kind of alnn^innna partly the re- 
sidue left is electrum. This, which contains a mixture -of 
silver_and gold, blsing again subjected to the fire, the silver is 
separated and the gold left [pure] ; for this metal is easily 
dissipated and fat, 2 and on this account gold is most easily 
melted by straw, the flame of which is soft, and bearing a simi- 
larity [to the gold], causes it easily to dissolve : whereas coal, 
besides wasting a great deal, melts it too much by reason of 
its vehemence, and carries it off [in vapour]. In the beds of 
the rivers the sand is either collected and washed in boats 
close by, or else a pit is dug to which the earth is carried and 
there washed. The furnaces for silver are constructed lofty, 
in order that the vapour, which is dense and pestilent, may be 
raised and carried off. Certain of the copper mines are called 
gold mines, which would seem to show that formerly gold was 
dug from them. 

9. Posidonius, in praising the amount and excellence of the 
metals, cannot refrain from his accustomed rhetoric, and be- 
comes quite enthusiastic in exaggeration. He tells us we 
are not to disbelieve the fable, that formerly the forests hav- 
ing been set on fire, the earth, which was loaded with silver 
and gold, melted, and threw up these metals to the surface, 
forasmuch as every mountain and wooded hill seemed to be 
heaped up with money by a lavish fortune. Altogether (he 
remarks) any one seeing these places, could only describe them 
as the inexhaustible treasuries of nature, or the unfailing ex- 
chequer of some potentate ; for not only, he tells us, is this land 
rich itself, but riches abound beneath it. So that amongst 
these people the subterraneous regions should not be regarded 
as the realms of Pluto, but of Plutus. Such is the flourished 
style in which he speaks on this subject, that you would fancy 

1 Pliny, (lib. xxxiii. c. 4,) writing on the same subject, says, " Inveni- 
untur ita massse ; necnon in puteis etiam denas excedentes libras. 
Palacras Hispani, alii palacranas, iidem quod minutum est balucem 

2 This passage is evidently corrupt, nor do any of the readings which 
have been proposed seem to clear up the difficulties which it presents. 

B. in. c. ii. 9. SPAIN. 221 

his turgid language had been dug from a mine itself. Dis- 
coursing on the diligence of the miners, he applies to them the 
remark [of Demetrius] of Phalaris, who, speaking of the sil- 
ver mines of Attica, said that the men there dug with as 
much energy as if they thought they could grub up Plutus 
himself. He compares with these the activity and diligence 
of the Turdetani, who are in the habit of cutting tortuous and 
deep tunnels, and draining the streams which they frequently 
encounter by means ot iLJgypfTan screws. 1 As for the rest, 2 
they are quite different from the Attic miners, whose mining 
(he remarks) may be justly compared to that enigma, 3 What 
I have taken up I have not kept, and what I have got I have 
thrown away. Whereas the Turdetanians make a good profit, 
since a fourth part of the ore which they extract from the 
copper mines is [pure] copper, while from the silver mines 
one person has taken as much as a Euboean talent. He says 
that lin is not found upon the surface, as authors commonly 
relate, but that it is dug up ; and that it is produced both in 
places among the barbarians who dwell beyond the Lusjtanians 
and in the islands Cassiterides ; and that from the Britannic Is- 
lands it is carried to Marseilles. Amongst the Artabri, 4 who are 
flie last of the Lusitanians towards the north and west, he tells 
us that the earth is powdered with silver, tin, and white gold, 
that is, mixed with silver, the earth having been brought down 
by the rivers : this the women scrape up with spades, and wash 
in sieves, woven after the fashion of baskets. Such is the 

1 Archimedes' Screw. It was called the Egyptian screw because in- 
vented by Archimedes when in Egypt, and also because it was much 
employed by the Egyptians in raising water from the Nile for the irri- 
gation of their lands. 

2 We read TO tit XOITTOV, according to Kramer's suggestion. 

3 The following is the enigma alluded to. We have extracted it from 
Mackenzie's Translation of the Life of Homer, attributed to Herodotus of 
Halicarnassus. While the sailors and the towns-people of the Isle of los 
(Nio) were speaking with Homer, some fishermen's children ran their ves- 
sel on shore, and descending to the sands, addressed these words to the 
assembled persons : " Hear us, strangers, explain our riddle if ye can." 
Then some of those who were present ordered them to speak. " We 
leave," say they, " what we take, and we carry with us that we cannot 
take." No one being able to solve the enigma, they thus expounded it. 
" Having had an unproductive fishery/' say they in explanation, "we sat 
down on the sand, and being annoyed by the vermin, left the fish we 
had taken on the shore, taking with us the vermin we could not catch." 

4 These people inhabited the province of Gallicia in Spain. 


substance of what [Posidonius] tells us concerning the mines 
[of Iberia]. 

10. Poly bi us, speaking of the silver mines of New Car- 
thage, 1 Tells us that they are extremely large, distant from 
the city about 20 stadia, and occupy a circuit of 400 stadia, 
that there are 40,000 men regularly engaged in them, and 
that they yield^cTafly to the Kornan people [a revenue of] 
25,000 drachmae. The rest of the process I pass over, as it 
is too long, but as for the silver ore collected, he tells us that 
it is broken up, and sifted through sieves over water ; that 
what remains is to be again broken, and the water having 
been strained off, it is to be sifted and broken a third time. 
The dregs which remain after the fifth time are to be melted, 
and the lead being poured off, the silver is obtained pure. 
These silver mines still exist ; however they are no longer the 
property"!" the state, neither these nor those elsewhere, but 
are possessed by private individuals. The goldjnines, on the 
contrary, nearly all belong to the state. Both at Castlon 2 
and other places there are singular lead mines worked.. They 
contain a small proportion of silver, but not sufficient to pay 
for the expense of refining. 

11. Not far from Castlon is the mountain in which they re- 
port that the [river] Guadalquiver 3 takes its rise. They call it 
silver mountain on account of the silver mines which it con- 
tains. 4 Polybius asserts that both the Guadiana 5 and this river 
have their sources in Keltiberia, notwithstanding they are 
separated from each other by a distance of 900 stadia ; G [this we 
are to attribute to] the Keltiberians having increased in power, 
and having consequently conferred their name on the surround- 
ing country. It appears the ajncientsjuiew the Gruadalgjiiver 
under the name of the Tart&sus, and grades 7 with the neigh- 
bouring islands under that of Erythia ; and it is thought that 
we should understand in this sense the words of Stesichorus 8 
concerning the pastoral poet Geryon, that he was born " al- 

1 Carthagena. 2 Caslona. 3 Baetis. 

4 'llie Sierra Cazorla. 5 Anas. 

6 These 900 stadia are equal to from 25 to 26 leagues, which is exactly 
the distance from the sources of the Guadalquiver near to Cazorla to the 
lagoons named Ojos de Guadiana, adjacent to Villa-Harta. 7 Cadiz. 

8 A Greek poet born at Himera m Sicily, and who nourished about 
B. c. 570: he lived in the time of Phalaris, and was contemporary with 
Sappho, Alceeus, and Pittacus. 

B. in. c. ii. J 12. SPAIN. 223 

most opposite to the renowned Erythia, in a rocky cave near 
to the abundant springs of the silver-bedded river Tartessus." 
They say that on the piece of land enclosed between the two 
outlets of this river there lormerTy stood a city, named^like 
tKe~ river, Tartessus, and that the district was called Tartessis, 
which the Turduli now inhabit. Eratosthenes likewise tells 
us that the [country] near to Calpe l was called Tartessis, and 
also Erythia the Fortunate Island. This Artemidorus con- 
tradicts, and says that it is as false as his other statements, 
that the Sacred Promontory 2 is distant from Gades 3 five 
days' sail, when in fact they are [distant from each other] not 
more than 1700 stadia. 4 Likewise that the tide ceased at this 
point, whereas it passes round the whole circuit of the habit- 
able earth. That it is easier to pass from the northern parts 
of Iberia into Keltica, 5 than to proceed thither by sea ; with 
many other things which he asserted on the faith of that 
charlatan Pytheas. 

12. Our_poet_IIcjner] being very explicit, and possessing 
great experience, gives one cause to believe that he was not 
unfamiliar with_these localities. Of this any one may"T)e 
convinced who wiH examine carefully what has been written 
on these points, both the incorrect [comments], and likewise 
those which are better and more truthful. One amongst these 
incorrect ideas is, that he considered f Tartessis] to be the 
farthest country towards the west, where, as he himself ex- 
presses TfT" 

The radiant sun in ocean sank, 
Drawing night after him o'er all the earth. 6 

Now, since it is evident that night is ominous, and near to 
Hades, arid Hades to Tartarus, it seems probable that [Homer], 
having heard of Tartessus, took thence the name of Tartarus 
to distinguish the farthest of the places beneath the earth, also 
embellishing it with fable in virtue of the poetic licence. In 
the same way, knowing that the Cimmerians dwelt in northern 
and dismal territories near to the Bosphorus, he located them 

1 The rock of Gibraltar. 2 Cape St. Vincent. 3 Cadiz. 

4 This is exactly the distance from Cadiz to Cape St. Vincent, follow- 
ing the coasts. It is from 48 to 49 leagues. 

5 Gaul. 

6 The bright light of the sun fell into the ocean, drawing dark night 
over the fruitful earth. Iliad viii. 485. 

224 STRABO. CASAUB. 149- 

in the vicinity of Hades ; perhaps also on account of the com- 
mon hatred of the lonians against this people. For they say 
that in the time of Homer, or a little before, the Cimmerians 
made an incursion as far as JEolia and Ionia. Always draw- 
ing his fables from certain real facts, his Planetse l are modelled 
on the Cyaneae. He describes them as dangerous rocks, as 
they tell us the Cyaneasan rocks are, [and] on which account [in 
fact] they are called Symplegades. 2 He adds to this [the 
account of] Jason's navigating through the midst of them. 
The Straits of the Pillars 3 and Sicily, 4 likewise, suggested to 
him the fable of the Planetae. Thus, even according to the 
worst comments, from the fiction of Tartarus any one might 
gather that Homer was acquainted with the regions about 

13. Of these facts, notwithstanding, there are better proofs. 
For instance, the expeditions of Hercules and the Phoenicians 
to this country were evidence to him of the wealth and luxury 
of the people. They fell so entirely under the dominion of 
the Phosnicians, that at the present day almost the whole of 
the cities of Turdetania and the neighbouring places are in- 
habited by them. It also seems to me that the expedition of 
Ulysses hither, as it took place and was recorded, was the 
foundation both of his Odyssey and Iliad, which he framed 
upon facts collected into a poem, and embellished as usual 
with poetical mythology. It is not only in Italy, Sicily, and a 
few other places that vestiges of these [events] occur ; even in 
Iberia a city is shown named Ulyssea, 5 also a temple of 
Minerva, and a myriad other traces both of the wandering 
of Ulysses and also of other survivors of the Trojan war, which 
was equally fatal to the vanquished and those who took Troy. 
These latter in fact gained a Cadmean victory, 6 for their 
homes were destroyed, and the portion of booty which fell 
to each was exceedingly minute. Consequently not only those 
who had survived the perils [of their country], but the Greeks 
as well, betook themselves to piracy, the former because they 

1 Wandering rocks. 

2 Entwining or conflicting rocks. Euripides, Medea, verse 2, gives 
them the title of Symplegades. 

3 Gibraltar. * The Strait of Messina. 

5 Ulisipo or Lisbon. 

6 A proverbial expression by which the Greeks described a victory 
equally prejudicial to the victors and the vanquished. 

B. in. c. ii. 13. SPAIN. 225 

had been pillaged of every thing ; the latter, on account of the 
shame which each one anticipated to himself: 
" The shame 

That must attend us, after absence long 

Returning unsuccessful, who can bear ? " l 

In the same way is related the wandering of -ZEneas, of An- 
tenor, and of the Heneti ; likewise of Diomedes, of Menelaus, 
of Ulysses, 2 and of many others. Hence the poet, knowing of 
similar expeditions to the extremities of Iberia, and having 
heard of its wealth and other excellencies, (which the Phoe- 
nicians had made known,) feigned this to be the region of the 
Blessed, and the Plain of Elysium, where Proteus informs 
Menelaus that he is to depart to : 

" But far hence the gods 
Will send thee to Elysium, and the earth's 
Extremest bounds ; there Rhadamanthus dwells, 
The golden-haired, and there the human kind 
Enjoy the easiest life ; no snow is there, 
No biting winter, and no drenching shower, 
But zephyr always gently from the sea 
Breathes on them to refresh the happy race." 3 

Now the purity of the air, arid the gentle breathing of the 
zephyr, are both applicable to this country, as well as the 
softness of the climate, its position in the west, and its 
place at the extremities of the earth, where, as we have said, 
he feigned that Hades was. By coupling Rhadamanthus 
with it, he signifies that the place was near to Minos, of whom 
he says, 

" There saw I Minos, offspring famed of Jove; 

His golden sceptre in his hand, he sat 

Judge of the dead." 4 

Similar to these are the fables related by later poets ; such, for 
instance, as the expeditions after the oxen of Geryon, and the 

1 But still it would be disgraceful to remain here so long, and to return 
home without fitting booty. Iliad ii. 2S8. 

2 We should probably here read Menestheus. 

3 But the immortals will send you to the Elysian plain, and the bound- 
aries of the earth, where is auburn -haired Rhadamanthus ; there of a truth 
is the most easy life for men. There is nor snow nor long winter, nor 
ever a shower, but ever does the ocean send forth the gently blowing 
breezes of the west wind to refresh men. Odyssey iv. 063. 

* There then I beheld Minos, the illustrious son of Jove, having a golden 
sceptre, giving laws to the dead. Odyssey xi. 567. Bohn's edition. 
VOL. i. Q 

226 STRABO. CASAUB. 150. 

golden apples of the Hesperides, the Islands of the Blessed l 
they speak of, which we know are still pointed out to us not 
far distant from the extremities of Maurusia, and opposite 
to Gades. 

14. I repeat that the Phoenicians were the discoverers [of 
these countries], for they possessed the better part of Iberia 
and Libya before ting t ( JIHftJ^'^ rmip!T 'j and continued masters 
oT those places until their empire was overthrown by the 
Romans. This also is an evidence of the wealth of Iberia : 
in the expedition of the Carthaginians under Barcas, 2 they 
found, according to historians, that the people of Turdetania 
used silver goblets 3 and casks. One might guess too that it 
was on account of this great_oprulence that the men of the 
country, and their chiefs in particular, were styled long-lived. 
Wherefore Anacreon thus sings, <P 

" Neither would I desire the horn of Amalthea, nor to reign over Tar- 
tessus one hundred and fifty years." 

Herodotus too has preserved the name of the king, whom he 
calls ^Arganthonius. 4 The passage of Anacreon must there- 
fore either be^understood [of this king], or some other like 
him ; or else more generally thus, " nor to reign for a length- 
ened period in Tartessus." Some writers 5 are of opinion that 
Tartessus is the present Carteia. 

15. The Turdejani not only enjoy a salubrious_climate, but 
their manners are polished and urbane, as also^ar^e those 
of the people_ojveltica, by reason of their vicinity [to the 
TurdetaniJ, or, According to Folybius, on account of their 

1 The Canary Islands. 2 Hamilcar, the father of Hannibal. 

3 We have preferred, in common with the French translation, and the 
manuscript cited by Xylander, to read fyia\aiQ, instead of Qarvaig, think- 
ing it probable that Strabo referred in the first instance to the drinking 
vessels, and afterwards to the wine barrels, as being made of silver. 

4 Herodotus, who wrote about a century after the time of Anacreon, ex- 
pressly tells us that Arganthonius reigned during eighty years, and lived 
one hundred and twenty (1. i. c. 163). Cicero, Valerius Maximus, and 
Pliny report the same, apparently on the testimony of Herodotus. 
Lucian, Phlegon, and Appian however state the life of Arganthonius at 
one hundred and fifty years ; and what is remarkable, the two former, 
Lucian and Phlegon, cite as their authority Anacreon and Herodotus. 
Pliny, citing Anacreon, has taken the reign of one hundred and fifty years, 
mentioned by the poet, as a life of that duration. The passage of Strabo 
is evidently changed from its original form. 

* Of the number are Pomponius Mela and Pliny. 

B. in. c. in. $ 1. SPAIN. 227 

being of the same stock, but not to so great a degree, for they 
live for the mosTpart scattered in villages. The Turdetani, on 
the other hand, especially those who dwell about the Guadal- 
o^uiyer, 1 have so entirely adooted the Roman mode of life, as 
even to have forgotten their own language. They have for 
the most part becqmcjJLatins, 2 and received Roman colonists ; 
so that a short time only is wanted before they will be all 
Romans. The very names of .many of the .lawns at present, 
such as Pax Augusta 3 amongst the Keltici, Augusta-Eme- 
rita 4 amongst the Turduli, Caesar- Augusta 5 amongst the 
Keltiberians and certain other colonies, are proof of the change 
of manners I have spoken of. Those of the Iberians who 
adopt these new modes of life are styled togati. Amongst 
their number are the Keltiberians, who formerly were re- 
garded as the most uncivilized of them all. So much for 


1. STARTING again from the Sacred Promontory, 6 and con- 
tinuing along the other side of the coast, we come to the gulf 
near the Tagus, afterwards Cape Barbarium, 7 and near to this 
the outlets of the Tagus, which may be reached by sailing in 
a straight course for a distance of 10 stadia. 8 Here are estu- 
aries, one of them more than 400 stadia from the said tower, 
on a part of which Laccoea is situated. 9 The breadth of 
the mouth of the Tagus is about 20 stadia, its depth is so great 
as to be capable of navigation by vessels of the greatest bur- 
den. At the flood-tide the Tagus forms two estuaries in the 

1 Baetis. 

2 That is, been admitted to all the privileges of Roman citizenship. 
Pliny tells us that in Baetica alone there were thirty cities enjoying this 

3 Bejain Alentejo: others, with less show of probability, say Badajoz the 
capital of Estremadura. 

4 Merida. ^Saragossa. 9 Cape St. Vincent. 7 Capo Espichel. 

8 Coray reads two hundred and ten stadia, Groskurd and the French 
translators adopt 200 ; but the whole passage is so manifestly corrupt, 
that it scarcely seemed safe to hazard the correction. 

9 The text is here very corrupt, and the explanations of the editors 
and translators unsatisfactory. 

Q 2 

228 STRABO. CASATJK. 152. 

plains which lie above it, so that the plain is inundated and 
rendered navigable for a distance of 150 stadia. In the upper 
estuary an island is formed about 30 stadia in length, and 
nearly equal in breadth, which is fertile, and has excellent 
vines. The island lies near to Moro, 1 a city happily situ- 
ated on a mountain close to the river, and about 500 stadia 
from the sea. The country surrounding it is very fine, and 
the ascent [of the Tagus] for a considerable way practicable 
for vessels of a large size, the remainder is performed in river- 
boats. Above Moro it is navigable for a yet longer distance. 
Brutus, surnamed the Gallician, made use of this city as a 
military station, when fighting against the Lusitanians, whom 
he subdued. On the sides of the river he fortified Olysipo, in 
order that the passage up the river and the carriage of neces- 
saries might be preserved unimpeded. These therefore are 
the finest cities near the Tagus. The river contains much 
fish, and is full of oysters. It takes its rise amongst the Kel- 
tiberians, and flows through the [country of the] Vettones, 
Carpetani, and Lusitani, towards thejwest ; 2 to a certain dis- 
tance it runs parallel with the Guadiana 3 and Guadalquiver, 4 
but parts from them as they decline towards the southern 

2. Of those who dwell above the aforesaid mountains, the 
Oretani are the most southern, extending in part as far as the 
sea-coast on this side the Pillars. Next these towards the 
north are the Carpetani, then the Vettones and Vaccasi, through 
whose [country] the Douro 5 flows as it passes Acontia, 6 a 
city of the Vaccaei. TEeTGallician s are the last, and inhabit 
for the most part a mountainous country : on this account 
they were the most difficult To subdue, and furnished his sur- 
name to the conqueror of the Lusitanians ; in fact at the 
present day the greater part of the Lusitanians are beginning 
to call themselves Gallicians. The finest cities of Oretania 
are Qa^tulo "' and Oria. 8 

3. North of the Tagus is Ljisitania, the principal of the na- 
tions of Iberia, and the one which has most frequently en- 
countered the arms of the Romans. On the southern side 

/ A city of Lusitania, hod. Al-Merim. 
2 Literally towards the sunset at the equinox. 3 Anas. 4 Baetis. 
5 During. This city is not mentioned elsewhere in Strabo. 

Casloria. 8 Oreto. 

B. in. c. in. 4. SPAIN. 229 

this country is bounded by the Tagus, on the west and north 
by the ocean, on the east by the well-known nations of the 
CarpetamTthe Vettones, the Vaccasi, the Gallicians, and by 
others not worthy to be mentioned on account of their insig- 
nificance and obscurity. On the other hand, certain his- 
torians of the present day give the name of Lusitanians to all 
of these nations. 

To the east the Gallicians border on the nation of the As- 
turians and Keltiberians, the others [border] on the Keltibe- 
rians. In length Lusitaniais 3000 * stadia ; its breadth, which 
is comprised between the eastern side and the opposite sea- 
coast, is much less. The eastern part is mountainous and 
rugged, while the country beyond, as far as the sea, consists 
entirely of plains, with the exception of a few inconsiderable 
mountains. On this account Ppsidomus remarks that Aristotle 
was not correct in supposing that the ebb and flow of the tide 
was occasioned by the sea-coast of Iberia and Maurusia. 2 For 
Aristotle asserted that the tides of the sea were caused by the 
extremities of the land being mountainous and rugged, and 
therefore both receiving the wave violently and also casting 
it back. Whereas Posidonius truly remarks that they are for 
the most part low andsandy. 

4. The country which we are describing is fertile, and ir- 
rigated by rivers both large and small, all of whichJlow from 
the eastern parts parallel with the Tagus : most of them are 
navigable and full of goldjust After the Tagus, the most 
noted rivers are the Mondego 3 and the Vouga, 4 which are 
navigable but for a short distance. After these is the Douro, 5 
which flows from afar by Numaritia, 6 and many other colonies 
of the Keltiberians and Vaccaei ; it is capable of being navi- 
gated in large vessels for a distance of nearly 800 stadia. 
Besides these there are other rivers, after which is the [river] 
of Lethe, which some call the Limaea, 7 others the Belio, 8 it 
likewise rises amongst the Keltiberians and Vaccrei. After 

1 nvpiuv Kai Tpia\i\'n>jv, in text, but plainly the result of some error. 

2 We have followed the suggestion of Kramer in the rendering of this 
passage, the Greek text being evidently corrupt. 

3 Munda. 4 Vacua. 5 Durius. 

6 A city situated near Soria in Old Castile. ' Now the Lima. 

8 Xylander and many of the commentators propose to read 'OfiXiomiuva, 
or Oblivion, in place of BtXiuiva. The conjecture seems extremely 

230 STRABO. CASAUB. 153. 

this is the Bsenis, (some call it the Minius, 1 ) by far the largest 
river of Lusitania, 2 being navigable for a distance of 800 
stadia. Posidonius says this too rises amongst the Canta- 
brians. 3 An island 4 lies before its outlet, and two moles 
affording anchorage for vessels. A natural advantage [of 
this country] well deserving of commendation is, that the 
banks of the rivers are so lofty as to be capable of containing 
the entire of the water raised by the high tides of the sea, 
without either being overfilled, or overflowing the plains. This 
was the limitjof Brutug's expedition. Beyond there are many 
other rivers parallel to those I have named. 

5. The Artabri are the last of the people [on this coast]. 
They inhabit the promontory called Nerium, which* is the 
boundary [of Iberia] on its western and northern sides. 
Around it dwell the Keltici, a kindred race to those who are 
situated along the Guadiana. 6 They say that these lat- 
ter, together with the Turduli, having undertaken an expedition 
thither, quarrelled after they had crossed the river Lima, 7 
and, besides the sedition, their leader having also died, they re- 
mained scattered there, and from this circumstance the river 
was called the Lethe. 8 The Artabri have besides many cities 
established round the Gulf, which mariners and those familiar 
with the places designate as the Port of the Artabri. 
At the present day the Artabri are denominated the 
Arotrebae. About tl^i^ty 9 different nations occupy the coun- 
try between the T'agusand the Artabri. Notwithstanding 
the fertility of the country in corn, Battle, gold, silver, and 

1 The Minho of the present day. 

2 The Minho is far surpassed in size, both by the Duero and the 

3 The text here is evidently incorrect. In the first place, the icai 
avrov, which we have rendered this too, evidently sustained some 
relation, no longer subsisting, to what preceded ; and in the second, the 
sources of the Minho were not in Cantabria, but Gallicia. 

* Strabo here appears to confound the mouth of the Minho with a 
small bay about five leagues distant, near to the city of Bayona in 
Gallicia, and before which there is still the small island of Bayona. 

5 Cape Finisterre. 6 Anas. 7 Limaea. 

8 Or the river of Oblivion, apparently because they forgot to return to 
their owi 

few of the MSS. read fifty, which number seems to be counte- 
nanced by the statement of Pliny, that forty-six nations inhabited Lusi- 
tania : but then the limits he set to the country were more extended than 
those allowed by Strabo. 

B. in. c. in. 6. SPAIN. 231 

numerous other similar productions, the majority of its inhabit- 
ants, neglecting to gain their subsistence from the ground, 
parsed their lives in pillage and continual warfare, both be- 
tween themselves and their neighbours, whom they used to 
cross the Tagus [to plunder]. To this the Romans at length 
put a stop by subduing them, and changing many of their 
cities into villages, besides colonizing some of them better. / 
The mountaineers, as was natural, were the first to com- 
mence this lawless mode of life : for living but scantily, and 
possessing little, they coveted the goods of others, who being 
obliged to repulse them, of necessity relinquished their proper 
employments, and instead of pursuing agriculture took up 
arms. Thus it happened that their country, being neglected, 
became barren notwithstanding its natural advantages, and 
inhabited by bandits. 

6. The Lusitanians are reported to be clever in laying am- 
bushes, sharp, swift of foot, light, 1 and easily disciplined as 
soldiers. The small shield they make use of is two feet in 
diameter, its outer surface Qpncave, and suspended by leather 
tEongs ; it neither has rings nor handles. They have in addi- 
tion 2 a poignard or dagger. Their corselets are for the most 
part made of Hnen ; a lew have chain-coats and helmets with 
triple crests, but the others use helmets composed of sinews. 
The infantry wear greaves, each man is furnished with a 
number of javelins ; some also use spears pointed with brass. 
They report that some of those who dwell near to the river 
Douro 3 imitate the Lacedaemonians in anointing their bodies 
with oil, using hot air-baths made of heated stones, bathing 
in cold water, and taking but one tidy and frugal meal 
a day. The Lusitanians are frequent in the performance of 
sacrifice ; they examine the entrails, but without cutting them 
out of the body ; they also examine the veins of the side, and 
practise augury by the touch. They likewise divine by the 
entmih_of^ativje_enemies, whom they first cover with a mili- 
tary cloak, and when stricken under the entrails by the 
haruspex, they draw their first auguries from the fall [of the 

1 The KovQoQ of the text signifies also a volatile disposition. 

2 Some part of the sentence seems here to be wanting. It probably 
contained a description of the kind of sword made use of. 

3 Durius. 

232 STRABO. CASAUB. 155. 


victiml. They pjit. nfFlbp. rjg}]t ha-ndfl pf their prisoners., and 

7. All the mountaineers are frugal, their beverage is water, 
they sleep on the ground, and wear a profuse quantity of long 
hairafter thejashion of w^men, which, they bind around the 
Torehead when they go to battle. 1 They subsist principally 
on the^esh of the goat,, which animal they sacrifice to Mars ? 
as also prisoners taken in war, and , horses. They likewise 
offer hecatombs of each kind after the manner of the Greeks, 
described by Pindar, 

,' "To sacrifice a hundred of every [species]." 2 

They practise gymnastic exercises, 3 both as heavy-armed 
soldiers, and cavalry, also tjoxing, running, skirmishing, and 
fighting in bands. For two-thirds of the year the mountaineers 
feed on the.asprn, which they dry, bruise, and afterwards grind 
and make intoakind of bread, which may be stored up for a long 
period. They also usejbeer ; wine is very scarce, and what is 
made they speedily consume in feasting with their relatives. In 
^lace of oil thevjiise butter. Their meals they take sitting, 
on seats put ujTround the walls, and they take place on these 
according to their age and rank. The supper is carried round, 
and wjhilstdrmkinp; they dance to the sound Q f f h p flntgjind 

. trumpetTsprfngmg up and fljnlo'nor upon the knees. 4 

In JSastetania the wnnTen^daTK^ promiscuously jwjth_the 
men^each holding the otEeps hand. They all dress in black, 
Tfie majority of themin cloaks called saga, in which they 
sleep on beds of straw. They make use of wooden vessels 

Tike the Kelts. The women wear dresses and embroidered 
garments. Instead of money, those who dwell far in the in- 
terior exchange merchandise, or give pieces of silver cut off 

1 This reminds one of the glibs the Irish used to wear down to a recent 

2 This passage is not found in any of the odes of Pindar now remaining. 

3 The French translators observe, that we should probably understand 
this passage as follows, They exercise themselves as light-armed infantry, 
heavy-ai-med infantry, cavalry, &c. 

4 Xenophon describes this, or one very similar, as the Eisian_dance : 

TsXof # TO HtpOlKOV Wp^lTO, KQOT&V TO.Q Trk\TO.Q' KO.I WJfAtte, KOI ct- 

viaTctTo. " Last of all he danced the Persian dance, clashing his bucklers, 
and in dancing fell on his knees.then sprang up again." Xen. Anab. 
b. vi. c. I, lU. 

B. III. C. III. 

SPAIN. 233 

from plates of that metal. Those condemned to death are 
executedby stoning ; parricides are put to death without the 
Frontiers or the "cities. They maxry according to the Qu^toms 
of the Greeks. 1 Their sick they expose upon the highways, 
in the same way as the Egyptians 2 did anciently, in .the 
hope that some one who has experienced the malady may 
be able to give them i advice. Up to the time of [the ex- 
pedition of] Brutus tftey made use of vessels constructed of 
skins for crossing the lagoons formed' by the tides } they 
now have them formed out of the single jrujik of a tree, but 
these are scarce. Their salt_is_purple, but beco^ies white 
by pounding. The life of the mountaineers is such as I 
have described, I mean those bordering the northern side of 
Iberia, the Gallicians, the Asturians, and the Cantabrians, 3 
as far as the Vascons 4 and the Pyrenees. The mode of life 
amongst all these is similar. But I am reluctant to fill my 
page with their names, and would fain escape the disagree- 
able task of writing them, unless perchance the Pleutauri, 
the Bardyetse, the Allotriges, 5 and other names still worse 
and more out of the way than these might be grateful to 
the ear of some one. 

8. The rough and savage manners of these people is not 
alone owing to their wars, tut likewise to their isolated posi- 
tion, it being a long distance to reach them, whether by sea 
or land. Thus the difficulty of communication has deprived 

1 This is said to distinguish them from their neighbours, the inhabitants 
of Majorca and Minorca, whose peculiar marriage ceremonies are thus 
described by Diodorus Siculus, lib. v. c. 18: Hapd8oov *e TI icai 
Kara. TOVQ ya/iovg vouifiov Trap' OVTOIQ iariv' iv yap ralq Kara rot'f 
ydfjLOVQ tvioxiat^, oiKtiwv re icai tpiXaiv Kara ri)v 7/Xuciav 6 TrpuJrog dti 
Kal 6 dtvTtpog, icai oi \onrol Kara. TO t)7, jui'cryoirai rai vvutpaig dvd 
/us/r>0, la%a.rov TOV vv[i<piov rvy\dvovroQ ravrjjQ TTJQ Tifiijg. 

2 The mention of Egyptians here seems surprising, inasmuch as no 
writer appears to have recorded this as one of their customs. Of the 
Assyrians it is stated, both by Herodotus, i. 197, and also by Strabo him- 
self, xvi. cap. i. 746. It seems therefore most probable that Assyrians are 
intended, Egyptians being merely an error of the transcriber. 

3 Inhabitants of Biscay. 4 People of Navarre. 

5 Who the Pleutauri were, we do not know. The Bardyetae appear to 
be the same people whom Strabo afterwards speaks of as Bardyiti, or 
Bardyali, who occupied a narrow slip of land between the east of Alava 
and the west of Navarre. The Allotriges Casaubon supposes to be the 
same as the Autrigones, who occupied the coast from Laredo to the Gulf 
of Bilboa. 

234 STRABO. CASAUB. 156. 

them both of generosity of manners and of courtesy. At the 
present time, however, they suffer less from this both on 
account of their being at peace and the intermixture of 
Romans. Wherever these [influences] are not so much ex- 
perienced people are harsher and more savage. It is probable 
that this ruggedness of character is increased by the barren- 
ness of the mountains and some of the places which they 
inhabit. At the present day, as I have remarked, all warfare 
is put an end to, Augustus Csesar having subdued the Can- 
tabrians l and the neighbouring nations, amongst whom the 
system of pillage was mainly carried on in our day. So that 
at the present time, instead of plundering the allies of the 
Romans, the Coniaci and those who dwell by the sources of 
the Ebro, 2 with the exception of the Tuisi, 3 bear arms 
for the Romans. Tiberius, who succeeded Augustus Caesar, 
carried out his intention of placing a military force of three 
legions in these parts, by which means he has not only pre- 
served peace, but introduced amongst some of them a civil 


1. WHAT remains [to be described] of Iberia, is the sea- 
coast of the Mediterranean from the Pillars to the Pyrenees, 
and the whole of the inland country which lies above. The 
breadth of this is irregular, its length a little above 4000 
stadia. It has been remarked that the sea-coast 4 is above 
2000 stadia, and they say that from Mount Calpe, 5 which is 
near the Pillars, to New Carthage, 6 there are 2200 stadia. 
This coast is inhabited by the Bastetani, also called the Bas- 
tuli, and in part by the Oretani. Thence 7 to the Ebro the 
distance is nearly as great. This [region] is inhabited by 
the ^detani. On this side the Ebro to the Pyrenees and the 
TrophieToF Pompey there are 1600 stadia. It is peopled by 

1 Inhabitants of Biscay. 2 Iberus. 

3 rrXrjv Towiffot : these words are manifestly corrupt, but none of the 
various conjectural readings seem at all probable. 

4 From the Pillars to the Sacred Promontory, or Cape St. Vincent. 

5 The rock of Gibraltar. 6 Carthagena. 7 Viz. from Carthagena. 

B. in. c. iv. 2, 3. SPAIN. 235 

a small portion of the Edetani, and the rest by a people named 
the Indicetes, divided into four cantons. 

2T^ Commencing our particular description from Calpe, 
there is [first] the mountain-chain of Bastetania and the 
Oretani. This is covered with thick woods and gigantic trees, 
and separates the sea-coast from the interior. In many places 
it also contains gold and other mines. The first city along 
the coast is Malaca, 1 which is about as far distant from 
Calpe as Calpe. is from Gades. 2 It is a maxtet for the 
nomade tribes from the opposite coast, and there are great 
stores of salt-fish there. Some suppose it to be the same as 
Mamaca, which tradition reports to be the farthest west of 
the cities of the Phocaei ; but this is not the case, for Maenaca, 
which was situated at a greater distance from Calpe, is in ruins, 
and preserves traces of having been a Grecian city, whereas 
Malaca is nearer, and Pho3nician in its configuration. Next 
in order is the city of the Exitani, 3 from which the salted fish 4 
bearing that name takes its appellation. 

3. After these comes Abdera, 5 founded likewise by the 
Phoenicians. Above these places, in the mountains, the city / 
oTUlyssea 6 is shown, containing atf-rnplp. t Minerva t ac- rr 
cording to the testimony of PojiiJonius^ Artemidorus, and 
Asclepiades the Myrlean, 7 a man who taught literature in 
Turdetania, and published a description of the nations dwell- 
ing there. He says that in thft *pmp1<Ljyn nprva were hung 
up spears and prows of vessels, monuments of the_jyjLndrings 

1 Malaga. 2 Cadiz. 

3 Pomponius Mela gives this city the name of Hexi, or Ex, according 
to another reading; Pliny names, it Sexi, with the surname of Firmum 
Julium ; and Ptolemy, Sex. This is merely a difference relative to the 
aspiration of the word, which was sometimes omitted, at other times ex- 
pressed by the letters H or S indifferently. 

4 Mentioned by Pliny, Athenaeus, Galen, and also by Martial, lib. vii. 
Epigramm. 78, 

Cum Saxetani ponatur cauda lacerti ; 

Et bene si coenas, conchis immcta tibi est ; 
Sumen, aprum, leporem. boletos, ostrea, mullos, 

Mittis ; habes nee cor, Papile, nee genium. 

5 Adra. 6 Lisbon. ? 

^~A~sclepiades of MyrTea^a city of Bithynia, was a grammarian, and dis- 
Jiipte of the celebrated grammarian, ApoUomjis. According to Suidas he 
taught literature at Rome, under Pompey the Great. And it is probable 
that it was with Pompey he afterwards passed into Spain. 

236 STRABO. CASAUB. 157. 

of Ulysses. That some of those who followed Teucer in his 
expedition settled among the Gallicians ; l and that two cities 
were there, the one called Hellenes, 2 the other Amphilochi ; 
but Amphilochus 3 having died, his followers wandered into 
the interior. He adds, that it is said, that some of the 
followers of Hercules, and certain also of the inhabitants of 
Messene, settled in Iberia. Both he and others assert that a 
portion of Cantabria was occupied by Laconians. Here is 
the city named Opsicella, 4 founded by Ocela, 5 who passed 
into Italy with Antenor and his children. Some believe the 
account of the merchants of Gades, asserted by Artemidorus, 
that in Libya there are people living above Maurusia, near 
to the Western Ethiopians, named Lotorjhagi, because they 
feed on th~teaves ami root of the lotus 15 without wanting to 

1 Teucer, the son of Telamon, king of the island of Salamis, being 
driven out of the country by his father, founded in Cyprus the city of 
Salamis. Justin adds, that after the death of his father he returned to the 
island of Salamis; but being prevented by the son of Ajax, his brother, 
from debarking, he went into Iberia, and took up his abode on the spot 
where Cgrthagena was after warclsjmilt : that subsequently he removed 
into the cbunrry of the Gallicians, and settled amongst them. 

2 The Hellenes derived their name from Hellen the son of Deucalion 
and Pyrrha. This name, which at first designated only a smallpeople of 
Thgssajy, became afterwards the general appellation of the irmaDTtants of 
the whole of Greece. 

3 Amphilochus, on his return from Troy, founded with Mopsus the city 
of Mallos in Qilicia. He afterwards retired to Argps, but not being con- 
tented there he rejoined Mopsus, who however would no longer divide 
with him the government of their common colony. This dispute resulted 
in a remarkable combat, which cost the life of both. (Compare Strabo, 1. 
xiv. c. 4.) Sophocles and other tragic poets have taken advantage of this 
tradition. Herodotus likewise speaks of the voyages of Amphilochus into 
Cilicia, and of the city of Poside'ium which he founded there, but he tells 
us nothing of his death. Thucydides merely says that Amphilochus on his 
return home after the Trojan war, being discontented with his compatriots, 
founded in the Gulf of Ambracia a city which he named after his father- 
land, Argos. Nojie of these traditions mention a voyage to Iberia. 

4 Siebenkees suspects that thisTname sTTould be read Ocella. The Oce- 
lenses in Lusitania are commended by Pliny. 

5 Some MSS. read Opsicella. 

6 Strabo, or rather Artemidorus, seems to have confused the two kinds 
of lotus mentioned by the ancients. That whereof they ate the roo.ts and 
the grajn is the lqtus_of the liile, and a plant of the species nymphcea. 
The lotus alluded to in this instance is a shrub, (the rhamnus lotus of 
Linnaeus,) named seedra by the inhabitants of Barbary, with whom the 
fruit is an article of food. Herodotus mentions both kinds, (lib. ii. c. 92, 
ancTiv. c. 177,) and Polybius describes the second, as an eye_-witness. 

B. in. c. iv. 4, 5. SPAIN. 

drink ; for they possess [no drink], being without 
These people they say extend as i'ar as the region^ 
Cyrene. There are others also called Lotpj)hagi, who inhabit 
Memnx, 1 one of the islands situated opposite the Lesser 
Syrtes. 2 

4. No one should be surprised that the poet, in his fiction 
descriptive of the wanderings of Ulysses, should have located 
the majority of the ^scenes which he narrates without the Pil^ 
Jars,"nrthe Atlantic! For historical events of a sinularjchar- 

acter did actually occur nejar tcTthe places, so that the other 
circumstances which he feigned did not make his fiction in- 
credible ; nor [should anyone be surprised] if certain persons, 
putting faith in the historical accuracy and extensive know- 
ledge of the poet, should have attempted to explain the poem 
of Homer on scientific principles ; a proceeding undertaken 
by Crates of Mallos, 3 and some others. On the other hand, 
there have been those who have treated the undertaking of 
Homer so contemptuously, as not only 'to'cleny any such know- 
ledge tcTtne poet, as though he were a ditcher or reaper, but 
have stigmatized as fools those who commented on his writings. 
And not one either of the grammarians, or of those skilled in 
the mathematics, has dared to undertake their defence, or to 
set right any mistakes in what they have advanced, or any 
thing else ; although it seems to me possible both to grove 
correct much that they have said, and also" to set right other 
points, especially where they have been misled by putting 
faith, in Pytheas, who was ignorant of the countries situated 
along the ocean, both to the west and north. But we must 
let these matters pass, as they require a particular and length- 
ened discussion. 

5. The settlement of the Grecians amongst these barbarous 
nations may EeTegarded as theTesult of the division ^Fthese 
latter into small tribes and sovereignties, having' on account 
of thdrjaQroaej^ess nojunion amongst themselves, and there- 
fore~powerless~against attacks from without. This morose- 
ness is remarkably^grevalent amongst the Iberians, who are 

1 The Island of Zerbi. 2 The Gulf of Cabes. 

3 A celebrated stoic philosopher and grammarian contemporary with 
Aristarchus. He was of Mallos, a city of Cilicia, and surnamed the 
Critic and the Homeric, on account of the corrections, explanations, and 
remarks which he composed in nme_J>poks on the poems of Homer. 

238 STRABO. CASATJB. 158. 

besides crafty in their manner, devoid of sincerity, insidious, 
and predatory in their mode of life ; they are bold in little 
adventures, but never undertake any thing of magnitude, 
inasmuch as they have never formed any extended power or 
confederacy. If they had had but the will to assist each other, 

neither could the Carthaginians by making an incursion have 

hem of the greater part 
nor before__lhejn the Tvians, then Jjie Kelts, now called the 


so easily depriyejLthem of the greater part of their country, 

Keltiberians and Berones, nor after these the brigand Viria- 
thus, and Sertorius, 1 nor any others who desired power. 
On this account the Romans, having carried the war into 
Iberia, lo^muchjtime by reason of the number of different 
sovereignties, having to conguer^first^one, tben^an other ; in 
fact, it occjirjiejljnejirj^^ or even longer, before 

they had gubdued the whole. I return to my description. 
><- 6. After Abdera 2 is New_Carthage, 3 founded by Asdrubal, 
""*- who ^succeededJBarca s, tEe father QJLHannibal. It is by for 
the most powerful^ city of this country, being impregnable, 
and furnished with a noble wall, harbours, and a lake, besides 
the silver mines already mentioned. The places in the vicinity 
have an abundance of salted_fish, and it is besides the great 
emporium of the sea merchandise for the interior, and like- 
wise for the merchandise from the interior for exportation. 
About midway along the coast between this city and the 
Ebro, we meet with the outlet of the river Xucar, 4 and a city 
bearing the same name. 5 It rises in a mountain belonging to 
the chain which overlooks Malaca, 6 and the regions around 
Carthage, and may be forded on foot ; it is nearly parallel to 
the Ebro, but not quite so far distant from Carthage as 
from the Ebro. Between the XjJcaTand^Carth age are three f 
small^ towns of the~peop^or^Iarseilles, not i'ar from thel 
v "~rivei\ Of these thlTbest lEnown is He^i^rcs^opiumJ On the 
T/ promontory there is a^templejto Diana of Ejphesus, held in c" 
~^ great veneration. Sertorius used it as an arsenal, convenient 
to the sea, both on account of its being fortifiecTand fitted for 
piratical uses, and because it is visible from a great distance 

1 Sertorius, on the return of Sylla to Rome, took refuge in Spain, 
where he put himself at the head of the Romans who had revolted against 
the republic ; he was assassinated by one of his officers. 

2 Adra. 3 Carthagena. 4 Sucro. 

5 That is, the ancient name, Sucro. 6 Malaga". r Denia or Artemus. 

B. in. c. iv. 7, 8. SPAIN. 239 

to vessels approaching. It is called Dianium, 1 from Diana. 
Near to it are some fine iroj>works, andtwo small islands, 
Planesia 2 and Plumbaria, 3 with a sea- water lake lying above, 
of 400 stadia in circumference. Next is the island of Hercules, > 
near to Carthage, and called Scombraria, 4 on account of the 
mackerel taken there, from which the finest garum 5 is 
made". It is distant 24 stadia from Carthage. On the 
other side of the Xucar, going towards the outlet of the 
Ebro, is Saguntum. founded by the Zacynthians. The_de_- 
strnction of thisjmty_hy_jTannibal T contrary to his treaties with 
the Romans, kindled the sejcond^^unic^war. Near to it are 
the cities of Cherronesus, 6 Oleastrum, and Cartalia, and the 
colony of Dertossa, 7 on the very passage of the Ebro. The 
Ebro takes its source amongst the Cantabrians_; it flows 
through an extended plain towards the south, running parallel 
with the Pyrenees. 

7. The first city between the windings of the Ebro and 
the extremities of the Pyrenees, near to where the Trophies of 
Pompey are erected, is Tarraco; 8 it has no harbour, but is 
situated on a bay, and possessied of many other advantages. 
At the present day it is as well peopled as Carthage ; 9 for it is 
admirably suited for the stay of the prefects, 10 and is as it were 
the metropolis, not only of [the country lying] on this side 
the Ebro, but also of a great part of what lies beyond. The 
near vicinity of the Gymnesian Islands, 11 and Ebusus, 12 which 
are all of considerable importance, are sufficient to inform one 
of the felicitous position of the city. Eratosthenes tells us 
that it has a road-stead, but Artemidorus contradicts this, and 
affirms that it scarcely possesses an anchorage. 

8. The whole coast from the Pillars up to this place wants 
harbours, but all the way from here to Emporium, 13 the coun- 
tries of the Leetani, the Lartokeetoe, and others, are both 
furnished with excellent harbours and fertile. Emporium was 
f'oundecTby the^eop^ofM^rseilles, and is about 4000 14 stadia 

I Denia. 2 IsolaPlana. 3 S. Pola. 4 Islote. 
5 *^Tsauce so named from the garus, a small fish, from which originally 

it was prepared. Afterwards it was made with mackerel and other fish. 
Vide Pliny 1. xxxi. c.'7, 8. 

6 Peniscola. Tortosa. 8 Tarragona. 

9 New Carthage, or Carthagena, is intended. lo Sent from Rome. 

II Majorca and Minorca. ^Jviqa. l3 Ampurias. 

4 "The text is here manifestly corrupt. Various other numbers, from 

240 STRABO. CASAUB. 160. 

distant from the Pyrenees, and the confines of Iberia and 
Keltica. This is a very fine region, and possesses good ports. 
Here also is Rhodope, 1 a small town of the Emporitae, but 
some say it was Joujid^,^yjybe^iiodians. Both here and in 
Emporium they revejnce the Ephesian Diana. The cause of 
this we will explain when we come to speak of Massalia. 2 In 
former times the Emporita3 dwelt on a small island opposite, 
now called the old city, but at the present day they inhabit 
the mainland. The city is double, being divided by a Avail, 
for in past times some of the Indiceti dwelt close by, who, 
although they had a separate polity to themselves, desired, for 
the sake of safety, to be shut in by a common enclosure with 
the Grecians ; but at the same time that this enclosure should 
be two- fold, being divided through its middle by a wall. In 
time, however, they came to have but one government, a mix- 
ture of Barbarian and Grecian laws ; a result which has taken 
place in many other [states^]. 

9. A river 3 flows near to it, which has its sources in the 
Pyrenees ; its outlet forms a port for the Emporitas, who 
are skilful workers in flax. Of the interior of their country 
some parts ^re fertile, others covered with spartum, a rush 
which flourishes in marshes, and is entirely useless : they 
call this the June Plain. There are some who inhabit the 
Pyrenean mountains as far as the Trophies of Pompey, on the 
route which leads from Italy into Ulterior Iberia, 4 and par- 
ticularly into Bastica. This road runs sometimes close to the 
sea, sometimes at a distance therefrom, particularly in the 
western parts. From the Trophies of Pompey it leads to 
Tarraco, 5 through the June Plain, the Betteres, 6 and the plain 
called in the Latin tongue [the plain] of Marathon, on account 

4 to 400, have been conjectured as the true reading. Gosselin and Gros- 
kurd are in favour of 200. 

1 Sic text. Siebenkees and Coray propose to read 'Po^of , and Casau- 
bon also 'Pod?;, now Rosas. a Marseilles. 

3 Probably the river Fluvia, the Alba of the ancients. 

4 Iberia, or Spain, was anciently divided into two grand divisions, to 
which the Romans gave the names of Citerior and Ulterior Iberia. Augus- 
tus subdivided this latter into the two provinces of Baetica and Lusitania, 
giving the name of Tarraco to Citerior Iberia. Nevertheless the ancient 
names of Citerior and Ulterior continued in use long after this division. 

5 Tarragona. 

6 We are not exactly acquainted with this place, it is probably Vidre- 
ras; though others suppose it to be Colonia Sagerra. 

n. in, c. iv. 10. SPAIN. 241 

of the quantity of fennel growing there. From Tarraco [the 
road runs] towards the passage of the Ebro at the city 
of Dertossa; 1 from thence having traversed the city of 
Saguntum, 2 and Setabis, 3 it follows a course more and more 
distant from the sea, till it approaches the Plain of Sparta- 
rium, which signifies the Plain of Rushes. This is a vastjirid 
j^lam, producing the species of - rush from which co?ds are 
made, and which are exported to all parts, but particularly to 
Jtalv. 4 Formerly the road passed on through the midst of the 
"plain, and [the city of] Egelastaa, 5 which was both difficult 
and long, but they have now constructed a new road close to 
the sea, whichanerely touches upon the Plain of Rushes, and 
leads to the same places as the former, [viz.] Castlon, 6 and 
Obulco, 7 through which runs the road to Conduba and Gades. 8 X 
the two greatest emporia^^ofjberia"!. Obulco is distant about r 
300 stadia from Corduba. Historians report that Caesar came 
from Rome to Obulco, and to his army there, within the space 
of twenty-seven days, when about to fight the battle of Munda. 9 
10. Such is the whole sea-coast from the Pillars to the 
confines of the Iberians and Kelts. The interior of the 
country lying above, and included between the mountains of 
the Pyrenees and the northern side [of Iberia], as far as the 
Asture^ is principally divided by two mountain chains ; the 
one of these is parallel to the Pyjrenees, and takes its com- 
mencement fromThlTcountry of the Cantabri, terminating at 
the Mediterranean. This is called the Idubeda. 10 Thejsecond, 
springing from the middle [of this first], runs_towards the 
west, inclining however to the south and t^e^sea-coast to- 
wards the Pillars. At the commencement it consTst^oTlbare 
hills, but after traversing the Plain of Spartarium, falls in 
with the jorest lying abov^ Carthage, 11 and the regions round 
Malaca. 12 It is named OrosgedaT 13 The river Ebro flows be- 
tween the Pyrenees ancTTxkibeda, and parallericTboth these 
mountains. It is fed by the rivers and other waters carried down 

I Tortosa. 2 Murviedro. 3 Xativa. 

* The cordage of the famous vessel built by Hiero of Syracuse was 
formed from the spartum of Iberia. Vid. Athenaeus, lib. v. p. 206. 
5 Yniesta. 6 Caslona. 7 Porcuna. 8 Cordova and Cadiz. 

9 Fought against Pompey. 

10 The mountains of Burgos and Cuen^a, the Sierras of Oca, Lorenzo, 
and Moncayo. 

II Carthagena. Ia Malaga. 13 The Sierra de Toledo. 


from [the mountains]. Situated on the Ebro is the city of 
Caesar Augusta, 1 and the colony of Celsa, 2 where there is a 
stone bridge across the river. This country is inhabited by 
many nations, the best known being that of the Jaccetani. 3 
Commencing at the foot of the Pyrenees, it widens out into 
the plains, and reaches to the districts around Ilerda 4 and 
Osca, 5 [cities] of the Hergetes not far distant from the Ebro. 
It was in these cities, and in Calaguris, 6 a city of the Gascons, 
as well as those of Tarraco 7 and Hemeroscopium, 8 situated 
on the coast, that Sertorius sustained the last efforts of the 
war, after being ejected from the country of the Keltiberians. 
He died at Osca, and it was near to Ilerda that Afranius and 
Petreius, Pompey's generals, were afterwards defeated by 
divus 9 Cassar. Ilerda is distant 160 stadia from the Ebro, which 
is on its west, about 460 from Tarraco, which is on the south, 
and 540 from Osca, which lies to the north. 10 Passing through 
these places from Tarraco to the extremities of the Vascons 
who dwell by the ocean, near Pompelon 11 and the city of 
QEaso 12 situated on the ocean, the route extends 2400 stadia, 
to the very^frontiers of Aguitaine and Iberia. It was in the 
country of the Jaccetani that Sertorius fought against Pom-- 
pey, and here afterwards Sextus, Pompey's son, fought against 
the generals of Caesar. The nation of the Vascons, in which 
is Pompelon, or Pompey's city, lies north of Jaccetania. 

1 1 . The side of the Pyrenees next Iberia is covered with 
forests containing numerous kinds of trees and evergreens, 
whilst the side next Keltica is bare : in the midst [the moun- 
tains] enclose valleys admirably fitted for the habitation of 

"Saragossa. . 2 Xelsa. 

f They occupied the northern half of Catalonia. 

4 Lerida. 5 Huesca. 6 Calahorra. 7 Tarragona. 

8 Denia. 

9 VTTO Kaivapoe TOV Srtov, by the deified Caesar. We have adopted the 
Latin divus as the most suitable epithet for the emperor in an English 

10 Gosselin here labours to reconcile these distances with the actual 
topography of those parts, but it is useless to attempt to make all the 
loose statements furnished by Strabo tally with the exact distances of the 
places he mentions by supposing the stadia to be so continually varied. 

11 Pampeluna. 

12 Gosselin is of opinion that this CEaso. is not Ojarco near Fontarabia, 
but thinks it probable that Ea near Cape Machicaco is the site where it 

B. in. c. iv. $ 12, 13. SPAIN. 243 

man. These are mainly possessed by the Kerretani, a people 
of the Iberians. The hams they cure are excellent, fully 
equal to those of the Cantabrians, l and they realize no incon- 
siderable profit to the inhabitants. 

12. Immediately after passing Idubeda, you enter on Kel- 
tiberia, a large and irregular country. It is for the most 
part rugged, and watered by rivers, being traversed by the 
Guadiana, 2 the Tagus, and many other of the rivers which 
flow into the western sea, but have their sources in Keltiberia. 
Of their number is the Douro, which flows by Numantia 3 
and Serguntia. The Guadalquiver 4 rises in Orospeda, and after 
passing through Oretania, enters Bostica. The Berones inhabit 
the districts north of the Keltiberians, and are neighbours of 
the Conish Cantabrians. They likewise had their origin in 
the Keltic expedition. Their city is Varia, 5 situated near to 
the passage of the Ebro. They are adjacent to the Bardyitse, 
now called the Bardyli. 6 To the west [of the Keltiberians] 
are certain of the Astures, Gallicians, and Vaccaei, besides 
Vettones and Carpetani. On the south are the Oretani, and 
the other inhabitants of Orospeda, both Bastetani and Edetani, 7 
and to the east is Idubeda. 

13. Of the four divisions into which the Keltiberians are 
separated, the most powerful are the Aruaci, situated to the 
east and south, near to the Carpetani and the sources of the 
Tagus. Their most renowned city is Numantia. They 
showed their valour in the war of twenty: years, waged by 
the Keltiberians against the Romans ; for many armies of the 
Romanytogether with their generals, were destroyed ; and in 
the~end the Numantians, besieged within their city, endured 
the famine with constancy, till, reduced to a very small num- 
ber, they were compelled to surrender the place. The Lusones 
are also situated to the east, and likewise border on the sources 
of the Tagus. Segeda and Pallantia 8 are cities of the Aru- 

1 People of Biscay. 2 The ancient Anas. 

3 The ruins of Numantiaare seen a little to the north of Soria. 4 Baetis. 

5 Probably the small village of Varea, about half a league from Lo- 
groiio ; D'Anville supposes it to be Logrono itself. 

6 Aliter Bardyali. 

7 Kramer has altered the text into 'ESrjTavCJv, all MSS. having SiTra- 
v&v. There is little doubt they are the same people mentioned in section 
14 as Sidetani. 8 Palencia. 

K 2 

244 STRABO. CASAUB. 162. 

aci. Numantia is distant from Cgesar Augusta, 1 situated as 
we have said upon the Ebro, about 800 stadia. Near to Se- 
gobriga and Bilbilis, 2 likewise cities of the Keltiberians, was 
fought the battle between Metellus and Sertorius. Polybius, 
describing the people and countries of the Vaccsei and Kelti- 
berians, enumerates Segesama 3 and Intercatia amongst their 
other cities. Posidonius tells us that Marcus Marcellus ex- 
acted of Keltiberia a tribute of 600 talents, which proves that 
the Keltiberians were a numerous and wealthy people, not- 
withstanding the little fertility of their country. 

narrates that Tiberius Gracchus destroyed 300 cities of the 
Keltiberians. This Posidonius ridicules, and asserts that to 
flat ter~Gracch us, Polybius described as cities the towers such 
as are exhibited in the triumphal processions. 4 This is not 
incredible ; for both generals and historians easily fall into 
this species of deception, by exaggerating their doings. Those 
who assert that Iberia contained more than a thousand cities, 
seem to me to have been carried away in a similar manner, 
and to have denominated as cities what were merely large vil- 
lages ; since, from its very nature, this country is incapable of 
maintaining so many cities, on account of its sterility, wildness, 
and its out-of-the-way position. Nor, with the exception of 
those who dwell along the shores of the Mediterranean, is any 
such statement confirmed by the mode of life or actions of 
the inhabitants. The inhabitants of the villages, who con- 
stitute the majority of the Iberians, are quite uncivilized. 
Even the cities cannot very easily refine the manners [of 
their inhabitants], as the neighbouring woods are full of 
robbers, waiting only an opportunity to inflict injury on the 

14. Beyond the Keltiberians to the south are the inhabit- 

1 Saragossa. 

2 Baubola. 3 Sasamo, west of Briviesca. 

4 Allusion is here made to the custom of the Roman generals, who 
caused to be carried at their triumphs, representations in painting or 
sculpture, not only of the kings or generals of the enemy, who had been 
slain, but likewise of the forts, cities, mountains, lakes, rivers, and even 
seas, conquered from the enemy. This usage explains the words of Cicero, 
" portari in triumpho Massiliam vidimus." Appian, on occasion of the 
triumph of Scipio, says, Hupyoi Tt Trapa^lpovrai /tiju?7/iara T&V '- 

B. in. c. iv. 15, 16. SPAIN. 245 

ants of Orospeda and the country about the Xucar, 1 the Side- 
tani, 2 [who extend] as far as Carthage, 3 and the Bastetani 
and Oretani, [who extendj almost as far as Malaca. 4 

15. All the Iberians, so to speak, were peltastse, furnished 
with light arms for the purposes of robbery, and, as we de- 
scribed the Lusitanians, using the javelin, the sling, and the 
sword. They have some_cavalry interspersed amongst the 
foot -soldiers, the horses are trained to traverse the mountains, 
and to sink down on their knees at the word of command, in 
case of necessity. Iberia produces abundance of antelopes 
and wild horses. In many places the lakes are stocked. They 
have fowl, swans, and birds of similar kind, and vast num- 
bers of bustards. Beavers are found in the rivers, but the 
castor does not possess the same virtue as that from the 
Euxine, 5 the drug from that place having peculiar pro- 
perties of its own, as is the case in many other instances. 
Thus Posidonius tells us that the Cyprian copper alone pro- 
duces the cadmian stone, copperas-water, and oxide of copper. 
He likewise informs us of the singular fact, that in Iberia the 
crows are not black ; and that the horses of Keltiberia which 
are spotted, lose that colour when they pass into Ulterior 
Iberia. He compares them to the Parthian horses, for indeed 
they are superior to allother breeds, both in fleetness and 
their ease in speedj_travellmg; 

16. Iberia produce? a large quantity of roots used in dye- 
ing. In olives, vines, figs, and every kind of similar fruit- 
trees, the Iberian coast next the Mediterranean abounds, they 
are likewise plentiful beyond. Of the coasts next the' ocean, 
that towards the north is destitute of them, on account of the 
cold, and the remaining portion generally on account of the 
apathy of the men, and because they do not lead a civilized, 
life, but pass their days in poverty, only acting on the animal 

~~ l Sucro, now Xucar. 

3 The same people as the Edetani, mentioned in section 12. 

3 Carthagena. 4 Malaga. 

5 ATthe present day the best castor comes from Russia, but the greater 
part of that found in shops is the produce of Canada. It is denominated 
a stimulant and antispasmodic. Formerly it was much used in spasmodic 
diseases, as hysteria and epilepsy. It is now considered almost inert, and 
is seldom employed. After this description, it is scarcely necessary to 
warn the reader against the vulgar error of confusing castor with castor 
oil, which is extracted from the seeds of the Ricinus communis or castor oil 
plant, a shrub growing in the West Indies. 

246 STRABO. CASAUB. 164. 

impulse, and living most corruptly. They do not attend to 
ease or luxury, unless any one considers it can add to the 
happiness of their lives to wash themselves and their wives in 
, ptale urine kept in tanks, and to rinse their teeth with it, which 
""they say is the custom both with the Cantabrians and their 
neighbours. 1 This practice, as well as that of sleeping on the 
ground, is common both among the Iberians and Kelts. Some 
say that the Gallicians are atheists, but that the Keltiberians, 
and their neighbours to the north, [sacrifice] to a nameless 
god, every full moon, at night, before TKeir doors, the whole 
family passing the night in dancing and festival. The Vet- 
tones, the first tinifTTTiey came to a Roman camp, and saw 
certain of the officers walking up and down the roads for the 
mere pleasure of walking, supposed that they were mad, and 
offered to show them the way to their tents. For they 
thought, when not fighting, one should remain quietly seated 
at ease. 2 

17. What Artemidorus relates concerning the adornment 
of certain of theirjvomen, must likewise be attributed to their 
barbarous customs. He says that they wear iron collars 
having crows fixed to them which bend over the head^andfall 
forward considerably over the forehead. When they wish they 
draw their veil over these .crows, so as to shade the whole 
face : this they consider an ornament. Others wear a tym- 
T pahium 3 surrounding the occiput, and fitting tight to the head 
as far as the ears, turning over [and increasing] little by 
little in height and breadth. Others again make bald the 
front of the head, in order to display the foreliead to 
greater advantage. Some twist their flowing hair round a 
small style, ajoot_j]igh, and afterwards cover it with a black 
veil. Of singularities like these many have been observed 
and recorded as to all the Iberian nations in common, but 

1 Apuleius, Catullus, and Diodorus Siculus all speak of this singular 

2 A note in the French edition says, " This surprise of the Vettones is 
nothing extraordinary. Amongst all barbarous nations, savages especially, 
the promenade is an unknown exercise. When roused by necessity or 
passion, they will even kill themselves with fatigue ; at other times they 
remain in the most perfect inaction. The first thing which strikes a Turk 
on coming to any of the polished nations of Europe, is to see men pro- 
menading without any other aim but that of pleasure or health." 

3 Head-dress shaped like a drum. 

fc. in. c. iv. 18. SPAIN. 

particularly those towards the north, not only 
their bravery, but likewise their cruelty and bruta 
For in the war against the Cantabrians, mothers 
their children sooner than suffer them to be captured ; and a 
young boy, having obtained a sword, slew, at the command of 
his father, both his parents and brothers, who had been made 
prisoners and were bound, and a woman those who had been 
taken together with her. A man being invited by a party of 
drunken [soldiers] to their feast, threw himself into a fire. 
These feelings are common both to theTel7ic, Thracian, and 
Scythian nations, as well as the valour not only of their men, 
but likewise of their women. These till the.. ground, 1 and 
after parturition, having ]3ut their husbands instead of them- 
selves tcTlbed, they wait upon them. Frequently in their 
employment they wash and swathe their infants, sitting down 
by some stream. JPosidonius tells us that In Liguria, his host 
Charmoleon, a man who came from Marseilles, related to him, 
that having hired some men and women to dig hisjand, one 
of the women was seized with the pains_ of _ labour, and going 
to a littlejlistance from where they were at work, she brought 
forth, and returned immediately to her work, for fear she 
might lose her pay. He observed that she was evidently 
working in considerable pain, but was not aware of the 
cause till towards evening, when he ascertained it, and sent 
her away, having given her her wages. She then carried her 
infant to a small spring, and having washed it, wrapped it up 
in as good swaddling clothes as she could get, and made the 
best of her way home. 

18. Another practice, not restricted to the Iberians alone, 
is for two to mount on one horse, so that in the event of a 
conflict, one may be there to fight on foot. Neither are they 
the only sufferers in being tormented with vast swarms of 
mice, from which pestilential diseases have frequently ensued. 
This occurred to the Romans in Cantabria, so that they caused 
it to be proclaimed, that whoever would catch the mice should 
receive rewards according to the number taken, and [even with 
this] they were scarcely preserved, as they were suffering 
besides from want of corn and other necessaries, it being 
difficult to get supplies of corn from Aquitaine on account of 

1 At the present day in Bilboa, the capital of Biscay, the \vcmigfl_stufjc 
far more than the men ; they* load and unload vessels, anc 
ITeacts' burden^ which require two men to place there. 

-248 STRABO. CASAUE. 165. 

the rugged nature of the country. It is a proof of the fero- 
city of the Cantabrians, that a number of them having been 
taken prisoners and fixed to the cross, they chanted songs of 
triumph. Instances such as these are proofs ot' the Ferocity 
oTtheir manners. There are others which, although not show- 
ing them to be polished, are certainly not brutish. For ex- 
ample, amongst the Cantabrians, the men give dowries to 
their wives, and the daughters are lefTTiejrs, but they pro- 
cure wives for their brothers. These things indicate a de- 
gree oF'power in The woman, although they are no proof of 
advanced 'civilization. 1 It is also a custom with the Iberians 
to furnish themselves with a poison, which kills without pain, 
and which they procure from a herb resembling" rjarsley. This 
they hold in readiness in case""of misfortune, ancTto devote 
themselves for those whose cause they have joined, thus dying 
for their sake. 2 

1 We must remark that so far from the dowry given by men to their wives 
being an evidence of civilization, it is a custom common amongst barbarous 
people, and indicative of nothing so much as the despotic power of the 
man over the wife. These dowries were generally a sum of money from 
the husband to the father of his intended, on the payment of which he 
acquired the same power over her as over a slave. Aristotle, speaking of 
the ancient Greeks, tells us expressly that they bought th"eir wives, (Polit. 
ii. c. 8,) and observing that amongst barbarous nations women were always 
regarded in the same light as slaves, he cites the example of the Cyclopes, 
who exercised, according to Homer, sovereign authority over their families 
(Odyss. 1. ix. 114). This custom was so well established amongst the 
Greeks at the time of the poet, that he does not hesitate to introduce it 
amongst the gods (Odyss. viii. 318). It was not unknown among the 
Jews, and Strabo, in his fifteenth book, tells us that the Indians bought 
their wives. 

""""Caesar and Athenasus attribute this custom to the Gauls, and Valerius 
Maximus to the Keltiberians. Those men who attached themselves to 
the interests of any prince or famous personage, and who espoused all his 
quarrels, even devoting themselves to death on his account, are named by 
Athenaeus triXo^owpoi, and by Caesar soldurii. Speaking of GOO soldiers 
devoted in this manner to a Gaulish prince, named Adcantuannus, Caesar 
(1. iii. c. 22) says, "Sibi mortem consciscant ; neque adhuc hominum 
memoria repertus est quisquam, qui, eo interfecto cujus se amicitise 
devovisset, mori recusaret." Plutarch tells us that Sertorius had in his 
suite many thousand Iberians devoted to him. The following epitaph of 
these men, who, after the death of Sertorius, sacrificed themselves, being 
unwilling to survive him, was extracted by Swinburne from the Annals of 
Catalonia. Hie multse quac se manibus 

Q. Sertorii turmae, et terrae 

Mortalium omnium parenti 

Devovere, dum, eo sublato, 

B. nr. c. iv. 19. SPAIN. 249 

19. Some, as I have said, state that this country is separated 
into four divisions ; others, into five. It is not easy to state 
any thing precisely on these points, both on account of the 
changes which the places have undergone, and by reason of their 
obscurity. In well-known and notable countries both the 
migrations are known, and the divisions of the land, and the 
changes of their names, and every thing else of the same 
kind. Such matters being the common topics with every- 
body, and especially with the Greeks, who are more talkative 
than any__other jjepple. But in barbarous and out-of-the-way 
countries, and such as are cut up into small divisions, and 
lie scattered, the remembrance of such occurrences is not 
nearly so certain, nor yet so full. If these countries are far 
removed from the Greeks [our] ignorance is increased. For 
although the Roman historians imitate the Greeks, they fall 
far short of them. What they relate is taken from the Greeks, 
very little being the result of their own ardour in acquiring 
information. So that whenever any thing has been omitted 
by the former there is not much supplied by the latter. Add 
to this, that the names most celebrated are generally Grecian. 
Formerly the name of Iberia was given to the whole country 
between the Rhone and the isthmus formed by the two 
Galatic gulfs ; whereas now they make the Pyjrenees its bound- 
ary^ ancT call it indiffeTently Iberia or Hispania ; others 
have restricted Iberia to the country on this side the Ebro. 1 
Still earlier it bore the name of the Igletes, 2 who inhabited 
but a small district, according to Asclepiades the Myrlean. 
The Romans_call the whole indifferently Iberia and Hispania, 

Superesse taederet, et fortiter 

Pugnando invicem cecidere, 

Morte ad pra3sens optata jacent. 

Valete posteri. 

For the appalling means they adopted to hold out the city of Calaguris to 
the last, see Valerius Maximus, lib. vii. cap. vi. 

1 The country between the Ebro and the Pyrenees. 

2 These Igletes are the same which Stephen of Byzantium names 
Gletes, and by an error of the copyist Tletes. Herodotus places them 
between the Cynetae, and the Tartessians, and Theopompus in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Tartessians. The position between the Ebro and the 
Pyrenees, which Asclepiades the Myrlean thus gives them, supports the 
opinion of those who reckon that Rosas was founded by the Rhodians, 
and that the people of Marseilles did not settle there till afterwards ; it is 
more than probable that the Igletes were nothing more than Ignetes or 
Gnetes of the Isle of Rhodes. 

250 STRABO. CASAUB. 166. 

but designate one portion of it Ulterior, and the other Citerior. 
However, at different periods they have divided it differently, 
according to its political aspect at various times. 

20. At the present time some of the provinces having been 
assigned to the people and senate of the Romans, and the 
others to the emperor, Baetica appertains to the people, and a 
praetor has been sent into the country, having under him a 
quasstor and a lieutenant. Its eastern boundary has been 
fixed near to Castlon. 1 The remainder belongs to the em- 
peror, who deputes two lieutenants, a prastor, and a consul. 
The praetor with a lieutenant administers justice amongst the 
Lusitanians, who are situated next Bastica, and extend as far 
as the outlets of the river Douro, for at the present time this 
district is called Lusitania by the inhabitants. Here is [the 
city of] Augusta Emerita. 2 What remains, which is [indeed] 
the greater part of Iberia, is governed by the consul, who has 
under him a respectable force, consisting of about three legions, 
with three lieutenants, one of whom with two legions guards 
the whole country north of the Douro, the inhabitants of 
which formerly were styled Lusitanians, but are now called 
Gallicians. The northern mountains, together with the Astu- 
rian and Cantabrian, border on these. The river Melsus 3 
flows through the country of the Asturians, and at a little 
distance is the city of No'iga, 4 close to an estuary formed by 
the ocean, which separates the Asturians from the Canta- 
brians. The second lieutenant with the remaining legion 
governs the adjoining district as far as the Pyrenees. The 
third oversees the midland district, and governs the cities in- 
habited by the togati, whom we have before alluded to as 
inclined to peace, and who have adopted the refined manners 
and mode of life of the Italians, together with the toga. These 
are the Keltiberians, and those who dwell on either side of 
the Ebro, as far as the sea-coast. The consul passes the 
winter in the maritime districts, mostly administering justice 

1 Caslona. 2 Merida. 

8 Casaubon supposes that this is the river Ptolemy names Merus. 
Lopez, Geograf. de Estrabon, lib. in. p. 232, thinks it the Narcea. 

4 Pomponius Mela and Pliny coincide with Stfrabo in making this 
city belong to the Asturians ; Ptolemy however describes it under the 
name of Noega Ucesia as pertaining to the Cantabrians. Some say it 
corresponds to the present Navia, others to Pravia. Groskurd reckons it 
Gujon, or Navia, or Santander. 

B. in. c. v. 1. SPAIN. 251 

either in [the city of] Carthage, 1 or Tarraco. 2 During the 
summer he travels through the country, observing whatever 
may need reform. There are also the procurators of the 
emperor, men of the equestrian- rank, who distribute the pay 
to the soldiers for their maintenance. 


1. OP the islands which are situated in front of Iberia, two 
named the Pityussae, and two the Gymnasia?, (also called the 
Baleares,) are situated on the sea-coast between Tarraco and 
[the river] Xucar, on which Saguntum 3 is built. The Pity- 
uss29 are situated farther in the high seas and more to the 
west than the Gymnasiae. One of the Pityussae is called 
Ebusus, 4 having a city of the same name. This island is 400 
stadia in circumference, and nearly equal in- its breadth and 
length. The other, [named] Ophiussa, is situated near to this, 
but is desert, and much smaller. The larger 5 of the Gymna- 
sias contains two cities, Palma, 6 and Polentia ; 7 the latter lying 
towards the east, the former towards the west. The length 
of this island is scarcely less than 600 stadia, its breadth 200 ; 
although Artemidorus asserts it is twice this size both in 
breadth and length. 8 The smaller island 9 is about [2]70 stadia 
distant from Polentia ; in size it is far surpassed by the larger 
island, but in excellence it is by no means inferior, for both 
of them are very fertile, and furnished with harbours. At 
the mouths of these however there are rocks rising but a 
little out of the water, which renders attention necessary in 
entering them. The fertility of these places inclines the in- 
habitants to peace, as also the people of Ebusus. But certain 

1 Carthagena. 2 Tarragona. 

3 Murviedro. 4 Ivic;a. 5 Majorca. 

6 Palma. J Pollerca. 

8 Gosselin observes that the greatest length of Majorca is 14 leagues 
and a half; its breadth at the narrowest part 8 leagues ; and adds, that by 
confounding stadia of unequal value, Strabo makes Majorca a long narrow 
island, whereas in fact its form approaches nearer to that of a square. 

9 Minorca. 

252 STHABO. CASAUB. 168. 

malefactors, though few in number, having associated with 
the pirates in those seas, they all got a bad name, and Me- 
tellus, surnamed Balearicus, marched against them. He it 
was who built the cities. But owing to the great fertility of 
the country, these people have always had enemies plotting 
against them. Although naturally disposed to peace, they 
bear the reputation of being most excellent slingers, which 
art they have been proficient in since the time that the Phoe- 
nicians possessed the islands. It is said that these l were the 
first who introduced amongst the men [of the Baleares] the 
custom of wearing; tunics with wide borders. They were ac- 
customed to go_^nto battle naked, having a shield covered 
with goat-skin in their hand, and a jajglin hardened by fire 
at the "point, very rarely with an iron tip, and wearing round 
the head three slings of black rush, 2 hair, or sinew. The long 
sling they use for hitting at far distances, the short one for 
near marks, and the middle one for those between. From 
childhood they were so thoroughly practised in the use of 
slings, that bread was never distributed to the children till^they 
had won_it by the sling? On this account Metellus, when 
he was approaching the islands, spread pelts over the decks, 
as a shelter from the slings. He introduced [into the country] 
3000 Roman_colonists from Spain. 

2. In addition to the fruitfulness of the land, noxious 
animals are rarely to be met with. Even the rabbits, they 
say, were not indigenous, but that a male and female having 
been introduced by some one from the opposite continent, 
from thence the whole stock sprung, which formerly was so 
great a nuisance that even houses and trees were overturned, 
[being undermined] by their warrens, and the inhabitants 

1 Viz. the Phoenicians. 

2 Immediately after the word ptXayKpaivaQ, which we have translated 
black rush, the text of our geographer runs on as follows : " resembling 
the schoenus, a species of rush from which cords are made. Philetas in 
his Mercury [says] ' he was covered with a vile and filthy tunic, and about 
his wretched loins was bound a strip of black rush, as if he had been girt 
with a mere schoenus.' " It is evident that this passage is the scholium of 
some ancient grammarian, and we have followed the example of the 
French editors in inserting it in a note, as it is a great impediment in the 
middle of Strabo's description of the equipment of the island warriors. 

3 " Cibum puer a matre non accipit, nisi quern, ipsa monstrante, per- 
cussit." Florus, lib. iii. c. 8. The same thing is stated by Lycophron, 
v. 637, and Diodorus Siculus, 1. v. c. 18. 

B. in. c. v. 3. SPAIN. 253 

were compelled, as we have related, to resort for refuge to the 
Romans. However, at the present day the facility with 
which these animals are taken, prevents them from doing in- 
jury, consequently those who possess land cultivate it with 
advantage. These [islands] are on this side of what are 
called the Pillars of Hercules. 

3. Near to them, are two small islands, one of which is 
called the Island of Juno : some call these the Pillars. Be- 
yond the Pillars is Gades, 1 concerning which all that we have 
hitherto remarked is, that it is distant from Calpe 2 about 750 
stadia, and is situated near to the outlet of the 

Notwithstanding there is much can be said about it. For its in- 
habitants equip the greatest number of ships, and the largest 
in_size, both for our sea, 4 and the exterior ("ocean], although 
the island they inhabit is by no meansTarge, nor yet do they 
possess much of the mainland, nor are masters of other islands. 
They dwell for the most part onthese_a, only a few staying at 
home or passing their time~~Tn Rome. Still, in amount of 
population, their city does not seem to be surpassed by any 
with the exception of Rome. I have heard that in a pensus 
taken within our own times, there were enumerated five hun- 
dred citizens of Gades of the equestrian order, a~rrumber 
equalled by none of the Italian cities excepting that of the 
Patavini. 5 However, notwithstanding their vast number, its 
inhabitants possess an island, in length 6 not much above 100 
stadia, and in some places only one stadium in breadth. 
Originally the city in which they dwelt was extremely small, 
but Balbus 7 the Gaditanian, who received tne honours of a 

1 Cadiz. 2 The rock of Gibraltar. 

3 This mouth of the Guadalquiver, opposite Cadiz, no longer exists. 

4 The Mediterranean. 5 Padua. 

6 " The length of the island of Leon, at the extremity of which the city 
of Cadiz is situated, is about 9500 toises, which are equivalent to 1UO 
Olympic stadia." Gosselin. 

7 L. Cornelius Balbus was a native of Cadiz, and descended from an 
illustrious family in that town. His original name probably bore some 
resemblance in sound to the Latin Balbus. Cadiz being one of the 
federate cities, supported the Romans in their war against Sertorius in 
Spain, and Balbus thus had an opportunity for distinguishing himself. 
He served under the Roman generals Q. Mettellus Pius, C. Memmius, 
and Pompey, and was present at the battles of Turia and Sucro. He 
distinguished himself so much throughout the war, that Pompey confer- 
red the Roman citizenship upon him, his brother, and his brother's sons ; 

254 STRABO. CASAVB. 169. 

triumph, added another to it which they call the New 
Town. These two form the city of Didyme, 1 which is not 
above twenty stadia in circumference. In it, however, 
they are not pressed for room, because few live at home, the 
majority passing their lives on the sea, some too dwelling on 
the opposite continent, and particularly on a little island ad- 
jacent on account of its excellence. They have such a liking 
for this place as almost to have made it a rival city to Di- 
dyme. However, few in comparison inhabit either this or 
the sea-port which Balbus constructed for them on the op- 
posite continent. Their city is situated in the western parts 
of the island. Near to it is the temple of Saturn, which 

md is 01 

terminates [Gades to the west], and is opposite the smaller 
island. The temple of Hercules is on the other side, to the 
east, where the island approaches nearest to the mainland, 
being only separated therefrom by a strait of a stadium [in 
breadth]. 2 They say that this temple is twelve miles from 
the city, thus making the number of miles and the number of 
[Hercules'] labours equal : but this is too great, being almost 
equal to the length of the island. Now the length of the 
island runs from west to east. 

4. Pherecydes appears to have given to Gades the name of 
Erythia, the locality of the myths concerning Geryon : others 
suppose it to have been the island situated near to this city, 
and separated from it by a strait of merely one stadium. 
This they do on account of the excellence of its pasturage. 

and this act of Pompey was ratified by the law of the consuls, Cn. Cor- 
nelius Lentulus and L. Gellius, B. c. 72. It was probably in honour of 
these consuls that Balbus took the Gentile name of the one, and the 
praenomen of the other. It was for this Balbus that Cicero made the de- 
fence which has come down to us. The reason which induced Strabo to 
notice, as something remarkable, that Balbus had received the honours of 
a triumph, we learn from Pliny, who, noticing the victories which he had 
gained over the Garamantes and other nations of Africa, tells us he was 
the only person of foreign extraction who had ever received the honour of 
a triumph. " Omnia armis Romanis superata et a Cornelio Balbo 
triumphata, uni huic omnium externo curru et Quiritium jure donate." 
Plin. lib. v. c. 5. Soliuus likewise says of him, (cap. xxix. p. 54,) 
" Primus sane de externis, utpote Gadibus genitus accessit ad gioriam 
nominis triumphalis." 

1 This word signifies " The Twins." 

2 Gosselin says, the temple of Saturn appears to have stood on the 
site of the present church of S. Sebastian, and that of Hercules at the 
other extremity of the island on the site of St. Peter's. 

a. in. c. v. 5. SPAIN. 255 

For the milk of the cattle which feed there does not yield any 
whey, and they are obliged to mix it with large quantities of 
water when they make cheese on account of its richness. 
After fifty days the beasts [pasturing there] would be choked 
unless they were let blood. The pasturage of the country is 
dry, but it fattens wonderfully : and it is thought that from 
this the myth concerning the oxen of Geryon took its rise. 
The whole seashore however is possessed in common. 1 

5. Concerning the foundation of Gades, the Gaditanians 
report that a certain oracle commanded the T^rians to found 
a colony by the Pillars of Hercules. Those who were sent 
out Tor the purpose of exploring, when they had arrived at 
the strait by Calpe, imagined that the capes which form the 
strait were the boundaries of the habitable earth, as well as of 
the expedition of Hercules, and consequently they were what 
the oracle termed the Pillars. They landed on the inside of 
the straits, at a place where the city of the Exitani now stands. 
Here they offered sacrifices, which however not being favour- 
able, they returned. After a time others were sent, who ad- 
vanced about 1500 2 stadia beyond the strait, to an island 
consecrated to Hercules, and lying opposite to Onoba, a city of 
Iberia : considering that here were the Pillars, they sacrificed 
to the god, but the sacrifices being again unfavourable, they 
returned home. In the third voyage they reached Gades, 
and founded the temple in the eastern part of the island, and 
the city in the west. On this account some consider that 
the capes in the strait are the Pillars, others suppose Gades, 
while others again believe that they lie still farther, 
beyond Gades. There are also some who think that the 
Pillars are Calpe, 3 and the mountain of Libya which is 
opposite, named Abilyx, 4 and situated, according to Eratos- 
thenes, amongst the Metagonians, a wandering race. Others 
fancy that they are two small islands near to the for- 
mer, one of which is named the Island of Juno. Artemidorus 
speaks both of the Island of Juno and the temple there, but 
makes no mention either of mount Abilyx, or the nation of 

1 Groskurd supposes that we should here read, " [certain citizens of 
Cadiz have appropriated to themselves possessions in the interior of the 
island,] but the -whole sea-shore is inhabited in common," that is, by shep- 
herds who pastured the grounds in common. 

2 Goeselin shows that we ought to read 500 stadia in this place. 

3 The rock of Gibraltar. < The Ape-mountain near Ceuta. 

256 STRABO. CASAUB. 170. 

the Metagonians. 1 Some have transported hither the Planctce 
and the Symplegades, supposing them to be the Pillars, which 
Pindar calls the Gates of Gades, when he says that they were 
the farthest limits at which Hercules arrived. 2 Diccearchus, 
Eratosthenes, and Polybius, with most of the Grecians, repre- 
sent the Pillars as being close to the strait, while the Iberians 
and Libyans place them at Gades, alleging that there is no- 
thing at all resembling pillars close by the strait. Others 
pretend that they are t.hpjjpillflrs of brags eight cubits high in 
thetemple of Hercule.s at ftflfjes, on which is inscribed the 
cost ot J erecting thatedifice ; and that the sailors coming there 
on the completion of their voyage and sacrificing to Hercules,' 
rendered the placejso famous that it ca"me To be regarded as 
the termination ofthe lancTand sea. Posidonius thinks this 
view the most probable of all, and looks upon" the oracle and 
the several expeditions as a Phoenician invention. 3 As for 
the expeditions, what matters it whether any one should vehe- 
mently deny or credit the account, as neither the one nor the 
other would be inconsistent with reason : but the assertion 
that neither the little islands, nor yet the mountains, bear 
much resemblance to pillars, and that we should seek for 
pillars, strictly so called, [set up] either as the termin- 
ation of the habitable earth, or of the expedition of Her- 
cules, has at all events some reason in it ; it being an an- 
cient usage to set up such boundary marks. As for instance 
the small column which the inhabitants of Rhegium 4 erected by 
the Strait of Sicily, which is indeed a little tower ; and the 
tower called after Pelorus, which is situated opposite to this 
small column ; also the structures called altars 5 of the Philaeni, 
about midway in the land between the Syrtes ; likewise it is 
recorded, that a certain pillar was formerly erected on the 
Isthmus of Corinth, which the lonians who took possession of 
Attica and Megaris when they were driven out of the Pelo- 
ponnesus, and those who settled in the Peloponnesus, set up 
in common, and inscribed on the side next Megaris, 

1 The text is corrupt, but it is needless to go through all the emenda- 
tions proposed. 

2 This passage of Pindar has not come down to us. 

3 -^tvcffia 3>oiviKiic6v, a proverbial mode of speaking, having its origin 
in the bad faith of the Phoenicians [fides Punica], 

4 Regio. 

5 Strabo, in his 1 7th book, gives a different locality to these altars. 

B. in. c. v. 6. . SPAIN. 257 

" This is no longer Peloponnesus, but Ionia ; " 
and on the opposite, 

" This is Peloponnesus, not Ionia." 

Alexander too erected altars as bonn^an'p.s pf hia T^rHan o,am- 
j>3tign in those parts of the Jfodies he arrived at, which were 
situated farthest towards the east, in imitation of Hercules and 
Bacchus. 1 That this custom existed, then, cannot be doubted. 
6. It is probable that the places themselves took the same 
name [as the monuments], especially after time had destroyed 
the boundary marks which had been placed there, For in- 
stance, at the present day the altars of the Philaeni no longer 
exist, but the place itself bears that designation. Similarly 
they say that in India neither the pillars of Hercules or Bac- 
chus are to be seen, nevertheless certain localities being de- 
scribed and pointed out to the Macedonians, they believed that 
those places were the pillars in which they discovered any 
trace either of the adventures of Bacchus or Hercules. In 
the instance before us, it is notjmprobable that they who first 
[visjied these_regions]. set up boundary marks fashioned by 
the hand of man, such as altars, towers, and pillars, in the most 
remarkable situations, to indicate the farthest distance they had 
reached, (and straits, the surrounding mountains, and little 
islands, are indubitably the most remarkable situations for 
pointing out the termination or commencement of places,) and 
that after these human monuments had decaved 7 their names 
descended to the places [where they had stood J ; whether that 
were the little islands or the capes forming the strait. This 
latter point it would not be easy now to determine ; the name 
would suit either place, as they both bear some resemblance 
to pillars ; I say bear some resemblance, because they are placed 
in such situations as might well indicate boundaries. Now 
this strait is styled a mouth, as well as many others, but the 
mouth is at the beginning to those sailing into the strait, and 
to those who are quitting it at the end. The little islands at 
the mouth having a contour easy to describe, and being re- 
markable, one might not improperly .compare to pillars. In 
like manner the mountains overlooking the strait are promi- 

1 These were twelve altars, of fifty cubits each, erected to the twelve 
gods. Vide Diodorus Siculus, 1. xvii. c. 95. 
VOL. i. s 


nent, resembling columns or pillars. So too Pindar might very 
justly have said, " The Gaditanian Gates," if he had in mind 
the pillars at the mouth ; for these mouths are very similar to 
gates. On the other hand, Gades is not in a position to indi- 
cate an extremity, but is situated about the middle of a long 
coast forming a kind of gulf. The supposition that the pil- 
lars of the temple of Hercules in Gades are^intended, appears 
to me still less probable. It seems most likely that the name 
was origmalfy conferred not by merchants, but generals, its 
celebrity afterwards became universal, as was the ,case with 
the Indian pillars. Besides, the inscription recorded refutes 
this idea, since it contains no religious dedication, but a mere 
list of expenses ; whereas the pillars of Hercules should have 
been a record of the hero's wonderful deeds, not of Phosnician 

7. Polybius relates that there is a spring within the temple 
of Hercules at Gades, having a descent of a few steps to fresh 
water, which is affected in a manner the reverse of the sea- 
tides, subsiding at the flow of the tide, and springing at the 
ebb. He assigns as the cause of this phenomenon, that air 
rises from the interior to the surface of the earth ; when this 
surface is covered by the waves, at the rising of the sea, the 
air is deprived of its ordinary vents, and returns to the in- 
terior, slopping up the passages of the spring, and causing a 
want of water, but when the surface is again laid bare, the 
air having a direct exit liberates the channels which feed 
the spring, so that it gushes freely. Artemidorus rejects 
this explanation, and substitutes one of his own, recording at 
the same time the opinion of the historian Silanus ; but nei- 
ther one or other of their views seems to me worth relating, 
since both he and Silanus were ignorant in regard to these 
matters. Posidonius asserts that the entire account is false, 
and adds that there are two wells in the temple of Hercules, 
and a third in the city. That the smaller of the two in the 
temple of Hercules, if drawn from frequently, will become for 
a time exhausted, but that on ceasing to draw from it, it fills 
again : while in regard to the larger, it may be drawn from 
during the whole day ; that it is true it becomes lower, like 
all other wells, but that it fills again during the night when 
drawing ceases. [He adds] that the ebb tide frequently hap- 
pening to occur during the period of its re-filling, gave rise 

B. in. c. v. 8. SPAIN. 259 

to the groundless belief of the inhabitants as to its being 
affected in an opposite manner [to the tides of the ocean]. 
However it is not only related by him that it is a commonly 
believed fact, but we have received it from tradition as much 
referred to amongst paradoxes. 1 We have likewise heard 
that there are wells both within the city and also in the gar- 
dens without, but that on account of the inferiority of this 
water, tanks are generally constructed throughout the city for 
the supply of water : whether likewise any of these reservoirs 
give any signs of being affected in an opposite manner to the 
tides, we know not. If such be the case, the causes thereof 
should be received as amongst phenomena hard to be ex- 
plained. It is likely that Poly bi us may have assigned the 
proper reason ; but it is also likely that certain of the chan- 
nels of the springs being damped outside become relaxed, and 
so let the water run out into the surrounding land, instead of 
forcing it along its ancient passage to the spring ; and there 
will of course be moisture when the tide overflows. 2 But if, 
as Athenodorus asserts, the ebb and flow resemble the in- 
spiration and expiration of the breath, it is possible that some 
of the currents of water which naturally have an efflux on to 
the surface of the earth, through various channels, the mouths 
of which we denominate springs and fountains, are by other 
channels drawn towards the depths of the sea, and raise it, so 
as to produce a flood-tide ; when the expiration is sufficient, 
they leave off the course in which they are then flowing, and 
again revert to their former direction, when that again takes a 
change. 3 

8. I cannot tell how it is that Posidonius, who describes the 
Phoenicians as sagacious in other things, should here attribute 

1 The text is tv role 7rapet6oic, which Gosselin renders, " Les ouv- 
rages qui traitent des choses merveilleuses." 

* Strabo's argument is here so weak, that one can hardly believe it 
can have ever been seriously made use of. 

3 This method of explaining the ebb and flow of the sea, by comparing 
it to the respiration of animals, is not so extraordinary, when we remem- 
ber that it was the opinion of many philosophers that the universe was 
itself an animal. Pomponius Mela, (De Situ Orbis, lib. iii. c. 1,) speaking 
of the tides, says, " Neque adhuc satis cognitum est, anhelitune suo id 
mundus efficiat, retractamque cum spiritu regerat undam tmdique, si, ut 
doctioribus placet, unum (lege universum) animal est ; an sint depress! 
aliqui specus, quo reciprocata maria residant, atque itnde se rursus exu- 
berantia attollant : an luna causas tantis meatibus praebeat." 

s 2 

260 STRABO. CASATJB. 173. 

to them folly rather than shrewdness. The sun completes his 
revolution in the space of a day and night, being a portion of 
the time beneath the earth, and a portion of the time shining 
upon it. Now he asserts that the motion of the sea corresponds 
with the revolution of the heavenly bodies, and experiences 
a diurnal,^montlily, and annual change, in strict accordance 
witlTEne changes of the moon. For [he continues] when the 
moon is ele"vated one sign of the zodiac 1 above the horizon, 
me sea l>egins sensibly to swell and cover the shores, until 
she has attained her meridian Tbut when that satellite begins 
to decline, tne sea again retires by degrees, until the moon 
wants merely one sign of the zodiac from setting ; it then re- 
mains stationary until the moon has set, and also descended 
one sign of the zodiac below the horizon, when it again rises 
until she has attained her meridian below the earth ; it then 
retires again until the moon is within one sign of the zodiac of 
her rising above the horizon, when it remains stationary until 
the moon has risen one sign of the zodiac above the earth, 
and then begins to rise as before. Such he describes to be the 
diurnal revolution. In respect to the monthly revolution, [he 
says] that the spring-tides occur at the time of the new moon, 
when they decreasTTTmtil the first quartefTthey theifincrease 
until full moon, when they again^decrease until the last quar- 
ter^ after which they increase till the new moon ; [he adds] 
that these increases ought to be understood both of their dur- 
ation and speed. In regard to the annual revolution, he says 
that he learned from the statements of the Gadifanians, that 
both the ebb and flow tides were at their extremes at the 
summer solstice : and that hence he conjectured that they de- 
creased untiTthe [autumnal] equinox ; then increased till the 
winter solstice ; then decreased again until the vernal equinox ; 
and [liflally] increased until the summer solstice. But since 
these revolutions occur twice in the four-and-twenty hours, 
the sea rising twice and receding twice, and that regularly 
every day and night, how is it that the filling and failing of 
the well do not frequently occur during the ebb and flow of the 
tide ? or if it be allowed that this does often occur, why does 
it not do so in the same proportion ? and if it does so in the 
same proportion, how comes it that the Gaditanians are not 

1 Thirty degrees. 

B. III. C. V. 9. SPA 261 

competent to observe what is of daily occurrence, while they 
are nevertheless competent to the observing of revolutions 
which occur but once in the year. ThatJPosidonius himself 
credited these reports is evident from his own conjecture re- 
specting the decrease and increase [of the sea] from solstice to 
solstice. However, it is not likely, being an observant people, 
that they should be ignorant of what actually occurred, whilst 
giving credit to imaginary phenomena. 

9. Posidonius tells us that Seleucus, a native of the country 
next the Erythraean Sea. 1 states that the regularity and irre- 
gularity of the ebb and flow of the sea follow the different 
positions of the moon in the zodiac ; that when she is in the 
equinoctial signs the tides are regular, but that when she is 
in the signs next the tropics, the tides are irregular both in 
their height and force ; and that for the remaining signs the 
irregularity is greater or less, according as they are more or 
less removed from the signs before mentioned. Posidonius 
adds, that during the summer solstice and whilst the moon 
was full, he himself passed many days in the temple of Her- 
cules at Gades, but could not observe anything of these annual 
irregularities. However, about the new moon of the same 
month he observed at Ilipa' 2 a great change in the reflux of 
the water of the Guadalquiver. as compared with previous 
flood-tides, in which the water did not rise half as high as the 
banks, and that then the water poured in so copiously, that 
the soldiers there dipped their supply without difficulty, al- 
though Ilipa is about 700 stadia from the sea. He says, that 
the plains next the sea were covered by the tides to a distance 
of 30 3 stadia, and to such a depth as to form islands, while 
the basement of the temple in the enclosure dedicated to 
Hercules, and the top of the mole in front of the harbour of 
Gades, were not covered higher than 10 cubits, as observed 
by actual soundings ; but if any one should add the double of 
that for the occasional risings of the tide which occur, [nei- 
ther] thus would he be able to estimate the violence with 
which the full force of the high tide rushes over the plains. 
Posidonius informs us that this violence [of_the_tide] is com- 
mon to all the coagts of Spain on the Atlantic, 4 but what he 

1 The Persian Gulf. Alcolea. 

3 Some MSS. read 50 stadia. 

4 This is the sense of the text, *aeav TTJV rvcXy 

262 STRABO. CASAUB. 175. 

relates concerning the Ebro is unusual and peculiar to itself, 
for he says that it sometimes overflows after continued north 
winds, although there may have been neither rains nor snows. 
The cause of this [he supposes] to be the lake through which 
the Ebro flows, its waters being driven by the winds into the 
current of the river. l 

10. The same writer mentions a tree at Gades, which had 
boughs reaching to the ground ; its sword-shaped leaves often 
measuring a cubit long, and four fingers broad. Also that 
about Carthagena there was a tree whose thorns produced a 
bark from which most beautiful stuffs were woven. As for the 
tree [he saw] at Gades, we ourselves have observed a similar in 
Egypt, so far as the inclination of the boughs is concerned, but 
with a differently shaped leaf, and producing no fruit, which 
according to him the other did. In Cappadocia there are stuffs 
made from thorns, but it is not a tree which produces the 
thorn from which the bark is taken, but a low plant ; he also 
tells us of a tree at Gades, from which if a branch be broken 
off a milk will flow, and if the root be cut a red fluid runs. 
Thus much for Gades, 

11. The Cassiterides are ten in number, and lie near each 
other in the ocean towards the north from the haven of 
the Artabri. One of them is desert, but the others are 
inhabited by men in black cloaks, clad in tunics reaching 
to the feet, girt about the breast, and walking with staves, 
thus resembling the Furies we see in tragic representa- 
tions. 2 They subsist by their cattle, leading for the most part 
a wandering life. Of the metals they have tin and lead ; 
which with skins they barter with the merchants for earth- 
enware, salt, and brazen vessels. Formerly the Pho3nicians 
alone carried on this traffic from Gades, concealing the pas- 
sage from every one ; and when the Romans followed a certain 

1 We are not aware that the Ebro passes through any lake. 

2 This is probably a description of the appearance of the Druids. Taci- 
tus, (Ann. lib. xiv. 30,) speaking of the consternation into which the Druids 
of Anglesey threw the Roman soldiers who had disembarked there, says, 
" Druidaeque circum, preces diras, sublatis ad coolum manibus, fundentes, 
novitate adspectus perculere milites, ut, quasi heerentibus membris, im- 
mobile corpus vulneribus praeberent." Immediately before these words he 
thus describes the women, "Stabat pro litore diversa acies, densa armis 
virisque, intercursantibus feminis in modum furiarum, quae veste ferali, 
crinibus dejectis, faces praeferebant. 

B. in. c. v. 11. SPAIN. 263 

ship-master, that they also might find the market, the ship- 
master of jealousy purposely ran his vessel upon a shoal, 
leading on those who followed him into the same destructive 
disaster ; he himself escaped by means of a fragment of the 
ship, and received from the slate the value of the cargo he 
had lost. The Romans nevertheless by frequent efforts dis- 
covered the passage, and as soon as Publius Crassus, passing 
over to them, perceived that the metals were dug out at a 
little depth, and that the men were peaceably disposed, he 
declared it to those who already wished to traffic in this sea for 
profit, although the passage was longer than that to Britain. 1 
Thus far concerning Iberia and the adjacent islands. 

1 Viz. that the Cassiterides are farther removed from the coasts of 
Spain than the rest of the southern coasts of England. 



The Fourth Book contains a description of the regions about Gaul, Spain, 
and the Alps on this side, towards Italy. Likewise of Britain, and of 
certain islands in the ocean which are habitable, together with the country 
of the barbarians, and the nations dwelling beyond the Danube. 


1. NEXT in order [after Iberia] comes Keltica beyond the 
Alps, 1 the configuration and size of which has been already 
mentioned in a general manner ; we are now to describe it 
more particularly. Some divide it into the three nations of 
the Aquitani. Belgse, and Keltse. 2 Of these the Aquitani differ 
completely from the other nations, not only in their language 
but in their figure, which resembles more that of the Iberians 
than the Galatas. The others are Galatae in countenance, 
although they do not all speak the same language, but some 
make a slight difference in their speech; neither is their 
polity and mode of life exactly the same. These writers give 
the name of Aquitani and Keltae to the dwellers near the 
Pyrenees, whiclT are bounded by the Cevennes. For it has 
lfe"en "stated that this Keltica is bounded on the west by the 
mountains of the Pyrenees, which extend to either sea, both 
the Mediterranean and the ocean ; on the jjast by the Rhine, 
which is parallel to the Pyrenees ; on the north by the ocean, 
from the northern extremities of the Pyrenees to the mouths 

1 Transalpine Gaul. 

2 Gaul is properly divided into the four grand divisions of the Narbon- 
naise, Aquitaine, Keltica, and Belgica. Strabo has principally copied 
Caesar, who appears only to have divided Gaul into Aquitaine, Keltica, and 
Belgica. Csesar however only speaks of the provinces he had conquered, 
and makes no mention of the Narbonnaise, which had submitted to the 
Romans before his time. Strabo seems to have thought that the Nar- 
bonnaise formed part of Keltica. 

B. iv. c. i. 1. GAUL. 265 

of the Rhine ; on the so_uth by the sea of Marseilles, and 
Narbonne, and Ij^-thc Alps from Liguria to the sources of 
the Rhine. The Cevennes lie at right angles to the Pyre- 
nees, and traverse the plains for about 2000 stadia, terminating 
in the middle near Lugdunum. 1 They call those people Aqui- 
tani who inhabit the northern portions of the Pyrenees, and 
tEe Cevennes extending as far as the ocean, and bounded by 
the ri ver G aronne ; and Keltse, those who dwell on the other 
side oT the Garonne, towards the sea of Marseilles and Nar- 
bonne, and touching a portion of the Alpine chain. This is 
the division adopted by divus Caesar in his Commentaries. 2 
But Augustus Caesar, when dividing the country into four 
parts, united the KeltaB to the Narbonnaise ; the Aquitani 
he preserved the same as Julius Caesar, but added thereto 
fourteen other nations of those who dwelt between the Ga- 
ronne and the river Loire, 3 and dividing the rest into two 
parts, the one extending to the upper districts of the Rhine 
he made dependent upon Lugdunum, the other [he assigned] 

1 Lyons. 

2 The whole of this passage, says Gosselin, is full of mistakes, and it 
would seem that Strabo quoted from an inexact copy of Caesar. To under- 
stand his meaning, \ve must remember that he supposed the Pyrenees ex- 
tended from north to south, instead of from east to west ; and since he 
adds that these mountains divide the Cevennes at right angles, he must 
have supposed that this second chain extended from east to west, instead 
of from north to south. He likewise fancied that the Garonne, the 
Loire, and the Seine ran from north to south like the Rhine. Start- 
ing from such premises, it was impossible he could avoid confusion; 
thus we find him describing the Aquitani as north of the Cevennes, 
when in fact they dwelt north of the Pyrenees, between those moun- 
tains and the Garonne, and west of the southern portions of the Cevennes. 
Where he says that the Kelts dwelt on the other side or east of the Ga- 
ronne, and towards the sea of Narbonne and Marseilles, it is clear that 
he prolonged Keltica into the Narbonnaise, since this last province ex- 
tended along the Mediterranean from the frontiers of Spain to the Alps. 
Caesar had stated that the Gauls (the Kelts of Strabo) ipsorum lingua Kelta, 
nostri Galli, dwelt between the Garonne, the Seine, the Marne, and the 
Rhine. Finally, Strabo appears to have assigned the greater part of Gaul 
to the Belgae in making them extend from the ocean, and the mouth of 
the Rhine, to the Alps. This considerably embarrassed Xylander, but 
as we have seen that Strabo transported a portion of the Kelts into the 
Narbonnaise, it is easy to imagine that, in order to make these people 
border on the Belgae, he was forced to extend them as far as the Alps, 
near the sources of the Rhine. Ceesar located the Belgae between the 
Seine, the ocean, and the Rhine. 3 Liger. 

266 STEABO. CASATJB. 177. 

to the Belgae. However, it is the duty of the Geographer to 
describe the physical divisions of each country, and those which 
result from diversity of nations, when they seem worthy of 
notice ; as to the limits which princes, induced by a policy 
which circumstances dictate, have variously imposed, it will 
be sufficient for him to notice them summarily, leaving others 
to furnish particular details. 

2. The whole of this country is irrigated by rivers descend- 
ing from the Alps, the Cevennes, and the Pyrenees, some of 
which discharge themselves into the ocean, others into the 
Mediterranean. The districts through which they flow are 
mostly plains interspersed with hills, and having navigable 
streams. The course of these rivers is so happily dis- 
posed in relation to each other, that you may traffic from 
one sea to the other, 1 carrying the merchandise only a 
small distance, and that easily, across the plains ; but for the 
most part by the rivers, ascending some, and descending 
others. The Rhone is pre-eminent in this respect, both be- 
cause it communicates with many other rivers, and also be- 
cause it flows into the Mediterranean, which, as we have said, 
is superior to the ocean, 2 and likewise passes through the 
richest provinces of Gaul. The whole of the Narbonnaise 
produces the same fruits as Italy. As we advance towards the 
north, and the mountains of the Cevennes, the plantations of the 
olive and fig disappear, but the others remain. Likewise the 
vine, as you proceed northward, does not easily mature its 
fruit. The entire of the remaining country produces in 
abundance corn, millet, acorns, and mast of all kinds. No 
part of it lies waste except that which is taken up in marshes 
and woods, and even this is inhabited. The cause of this, 
however, is rather a dense population than the industry of 
the inhabitants. For ~ttie~ women there are both very_ prolific 
and excellent nurses, while the men devote themselves rather 
to Tvar tnanjiuspandry. However, their arms being now laid 
asidX they are compelled to engage in agriculture. These 
remarks apply generally to the whole of Transalpine Keltica. 
We must now describe particularly each of the four divisions. 

1 From the ocean to the Mediterranean, and vice versa. 

2 Alluding to the superiority of the climate on the shores of the Medi- 

B. iv. c. i. $ 3. GAUL. THE NARBOXNAISE. 267 

which hitherto we have only mentioned in a summary man- 
ner. And, first, of the Narbonnaise. 

3. The configuration of this country resembles a parallel- 
ogram, the western side of which is traced by the ^Pyrenees, 
the north by the Cevennes ; as for the other two sides, the 
south is bounded by the sea between the Pyrenees and Mar- 
seilles, and the east partly by the Alps, 1 and partly by a line 
drawn perpendicularly from these mountains to the foot of the 
Cevennes, which extend towards the Rhone, and form a right 
angle with the aforesaid perpendicular drawn from the Alps. 
To the southern side of this parallelogram we must add the 
sea-coast inhabited by the Massilienses 2 and Salyes, 3 as far as 
the country of the Ligurians, the confines of Italy, and the river 
Var. This river, aswe'Iiave said before, 4 is the boundary of the 
Narbonnaise and Italy. It is but small in summer, but in winter 
swells to a breadth of seven stadia. From thence the coast 
extends to the temple of the Pyrenaean Venus, 5 which is the 
boundary between this province and Iberia. Some, how- 
ever, assert that the spot where the Trophies of Pompey stand 
is the boundary between Iberia and Keltica. From thence 
to Narbonne is 63 miles ; from Narbonne to_Nemauau^ 6 88 ; l\i. 
from Nemausus through Ugernum 7 and Tarusco, to the hot * *t 
waters called Sextiae 8 near Marseilles, 53 ; 9 from thence to Q \ \ 
Antipolis ancf the"" river Yar, 73 ; making in the total 277 
miles. Some set down the distance from the temple of Venus 
to the Var at 2600 stadia ; while others increase this number 
by 200 stadia; for there are different opinions as to these 
distances. As for the other road, which traverses the [coun- 

1 We shall see in the course of this book, that under the name of Alps 
Strabo includes the different mountain-chains separated from the range 
of Alps properly so called. This accounts for his extending those moun- 
tains on the west as far as Marseilles, and on the east beyond Istria. 

2 The Marseillese. 3 The Salyes inhabited Provence. 

* As Strabo has made no previous mention of this river, the words " as 
we have said before " are evidently interpolated. 

5 This temple was built on Cape Creus, which on that account received 
the name of Aphrodisium. Many geographers confound this temple with 
the portus V'eneris, the modern Vendres, which is at a short distance 
from Cape Creus. 

6 Nimes. " Beaucaire. 8 Aix. 

9 Gosselin, who considers that the former numbers were correct, enters 
at some length on an argument to prove that these 53 miles were 62, and 
differs also in computing the succeeding numbers. 

268 STRABO. "CASAUB. 179. 

tries of the] Vocontii l and Cottius, 2 from Nemausus 3 to 
Ugernum and Tarusco, the route is common ; from thence [it 
branches off in two directions], one through Druentia and 
Caballio, 4 to the frontiers of the Vocontii and the commence- 
ment of the ascent of the Alps, which is 63 miles ; the other 
is reckoned at 99 miles from the same point to the other ex- 
tremity of the Vocontii, bordering on the state of Cottius, as 
far as the village of Ebrodunum. 5 The distance is said to be 
the same by the route through the village of Brigantium, 6 
Scingomagus, 7 and the passage of the Alps to Ocelum, 8 which 
is the limit of the country of Cottius. However, it is con- 
sidered to be Italy from Scingomagus. And Ocelum is 28 
miles beyond this. 

4. Marseilles, founded by the Phocaeans, 9 is built in a stony 
region. Its harbour lies beneath a rock, which is shaped 
like a theatre, and looks towards the south. It is well sur- 
rounded with walls, as well as the whole city, which is of 
considerable size. Within the citadel are placed the JSrjhe- 
ium and the temple of the Delphian Apollo. This latter 
temple is common to all the lonians ; the Ephesium is the 
temple consecrated to Diana^of Ephesus. They say that 
when the Phocseans were about to quit their country, an oracle 
commanded them to take from Diana of Ephesus a conductor 
for their voyage. On arriving at Ephesus they therefore in- 
quired how they might be able to obtain from the goddess 
what was enjoined them. The goddess appeared in a dream 
to Aristarcha, one of the most honourablejwomen of the city, 
anoTcommahded her to acco'm^anY the Fhocaeans, and to take 
with her apian of the temple and statues. 10 These things 
being perforated, and tKe colony bein^fsettled, the Phocaeans 

1 The cantons of Vaison and Die. 

2 Cottius possessed the present Brian9onnais. That portion of the 
Alps next this canton took from this sovereign the name of the Cottian 
Alps. Cottius bore the title of king ; and Augustus recognised his inde- 
pendence ; he lived till the time of Nero, when his possessions became 
a Roman province. 

3 Nimes. * Durance and Cavaillon. 5 Embrun. 

6 Brianfon. 7 Sezanne, or perhaps Chamlat de Seguin. 

8 Uxeau. 9 About 600 years before the Christian era. 

10 'A<f>iSpvp.d TI T&V ifp&v. Gosselin gives a note on these words, and 
translates them in his text as follows, " one of the statues consecrated in 
her temple." 

B. iv. c. i. 5.* GAUL. THE NARBONNAISE. 269 

temple, and evinced their great respect for Aristarcha 
by making her priestess. All the colonies [sent out from 
Marseille s] hold This goddess in peculiar reverence, preserving 
both the shape of fRe^mage [of the goddess 1, and also every 
rite observed in the metropolis. 

5. The Massilians live under a well-regulated aristocracy. 
They have a council composed of 600 persons called timu- 
chi, 1 who enjoy~this dignity for life. Fifteen of these preside 
over the council, and have the management of current 
affairs ; these fifteen are in their turn presided over by three 
of their number, in whom rests the principal authority ; and 
theseagamby one. No one can become a timuchus who has 
noTcliildren, and who has not been a citizen for three genera- 
tions. 2 " Their laws, which are the same as those of the 
Ionian s, they expound in public. Their country abounds in 
olives and vines, but on account of its ruggedness the wheat 
is pnor. Consequently they trust more to the resources of 
the sea than of the land, and avail themselves in preference of 
their excellent position for commerce. Nevertheless they 
have been enabled by the power of perseverance to take in 
some of the surrounding plains, and also to found cities : of 
this number are the cities they founded in Iberia as a ram- 
part against the Iberians, in which they introduced the wor- 
ship of Diana of Ephesus, as practised in theiFfather-land, with 
the Grecian mode oFsacrifice. In this number too are Rhoa 3 
[and] Agatha, 4 [built for defence] against the barbarians 
dwelling around the river Rhone ; also Tauroentium, 5 Olbia, 6 
Antipolis 7 and Nicrea, 8 [built aAJL~campart"| against the 
nation of the Salyes and the Ligurians who inhabit the Alps. 
They 9 possess likewise drydocks^nd armouries. Formerly 
they had an abundance oFyessels, arms, and machines, both 
for the purposes of navigation and for besieging towns ; by 
means of which they defended themselves against the bar- 

, literally, one having honour and esteem. 
3 We have seen no reason to depart from a literal rendering of the 
Greek in this passage, its meaning, "whose ancestors have not been 
citizens," &c., being self-evident. 

3 This name has evidently been corrupted, but it seems difficult to de- 
termine what stood originally in the text ; most probably it was Rhoda- 

4 Agde. b Taurenti. 8 Eoube. 

7 Antibes. s Nice. The people of Marseilles. 

270 STRABO. CASAUB. 180. 

barians, and likewise obtained the alliance of the Romans, to 
whom they rendered many important services ; the Romans 
in their turn assisting in their aggrandizement. Sextius, who 
defeated the Salyes, founded, not far from Marseilles, a city l 
which was named after him and the hot waters, some of 
which they say~have lostftheir heat. 2 Here he established a 
Roman garrison, and drove from the sea-coast which leads 
from Marseilles to Italy the barbarians, whom the Massilians 
were not able to keep back entirely. However, all he accom- 
plished by this was to compel the barbarians to_kggp at a dis- 
tance of twelve stadia froniTl'Bose" parts of the coast which 
possessed good harbours, and at a distance of eight stadia 
where it was rugged. The land which they thus abandoned, 
he presented to the Massilians. In their city are laid up 
"heaps ol'~booty taken liTnaval engagements against those who 
disputed the sea unjustly. Formerly they enjoyed singular 
good fortune, as well in other matters as also in their amity 
with the Romans. Of this [amity] we find numerous signs, 
amongst others the statue of .. Diana which the Romans dedi- 
cated on the Aventine mount, of the same figure as that of the 
Massilians. Their prosperity has in a great measure decayed 
since the war of Pompey against Caesar, in which they sided 
with the vanquished party. Nevertheless some traces of their 
ancient industry may still be seen amongst the inhabitants, 
especially the making of engines of war and sjiip-building. 
Still as the surrounding barbarians, now that they are un- 
der the dominion of the Romans, become daily more civil- 
ized, and leave the occupation of war for the business 
of towns and agriculture, there is no longer the same 
attention paid by the inhabitants of Marseilles to these 
objects. The aspect of the city at the present day is a 
proof of this. For all those who profess to be menoftaste, 
turn to the study of elocution and philosophy. Thus this city 
for some little time Hack has becomeTschool for the barbari- 
ans, and has communicated to*" the Galaue such a taste for 

1 Aquse Sextise, nowjVix^ 

2 Solinus tells us that in his day the waters had lost their virtue, and 
that their fame had declined. " Quarum calor, olim acrior, exhalatus 
per tempora evaporavit; nee jam par est famae priori." Solin. cap. 8. 
The victory of Sextius, mentioned by Strabo, is said to have been gained 
in the year of Rome 629. 

B. iv. c. i. 6. GAUL. THE NARBONNAISE. 271 

GreeJi^-literature, that they even draw contracts on the 
Gfrecian model. While at the present day it so entices the 
noblest of the Romans, that those desirous of studying resort 
thither in preference to Athens. These the Galatae observ- 
ing, and being at leisure on account of the peace, readily 
devote themselves to similar pursuits, and that not merely 
individuals, but the public generally ; professors of the arts 
and sciences, and likewise of medicine, being employed not 
only by private persons, but by towns for common instruc- 
tion. Of the wiaiiom of the Massilians and the simplicity of 
their life, the following will not be thought an insignificant 
proof. The largest_dowry amongst them consists of one hun- 
dred goldjpieces, with five for dress, and five more for golden 
ornaments. More than this is not lawful. Cassar and his 
successors treated with moderation the offences of which they 
were guilty during the war, in consideration of their former 
friendship ; and have preserved to the state the right of 
governing according to its ancient laws. So that neither 
Marseilles nor the cities dependent on it are under submis- 
sion to the governors sent [into the Narbonnaise]. So much 
for Marseilles. 

6. The mountains of the Salyes incline gently from west 
to north in proportion as they retire from the sea. The coast 
runs west, and extending a short distance, about 100 stadia, 
from Marseilles, it begins to assume the character of a gulf at 
a considerable promontory near to certain stone quarries, and 
extending to the Aphrodisium. the headland which terminates 
the Pyrenees, 1 forms the Galatic Gulf, 2 which is also called the 
Gulf of Marseilles : it is double, for in its circuit Mount Setium 3 
stands out together with the island of Blascon, 4 which is situ- 
ated close to it, and separates the two gulfs. The larger of these 
is properly designated the Galatic Gulf, into which the Rhone 
discharges itself ; the smaller is on the coast of Narbonne, and 
extends as far as the Pyrenees. Narbonne is situated above the 

1 The Cape de Creus, a promontory on which was the temple of the 
Pyrenaean Venus. 

2 The Gulf of I.vnns. 3 The Cape de Cette. 

4 Gosselin says, " The Island of Blascon is a rock opposite Agde, on 
which remains a fortified castle, which preserves the name of Brescon. 
This rock has been connected with the mainland, to form the port of 

272 STRABO. CASAUB. 181. 

outlets of the Aude l and the lake of Narbonne. 2 It is the 
principal commercial city on this coast. On the Rhone is 
Arelate, 3 a city and emporium of considerable traffic. The 
1 distance between these two cities is nearly equal to that which 
separates them from the aforesaid promontories, namely, 
Narbonne from the Aphrodisium, and Arelate from the cape 
of Marseilles. There are other rivers besides which flow on 
either side of Narbonne, some from the Cevennes, others 
from the Pyrenees. Along these rivers are situated cities 
having but little commerce, and that in small vessels. The 
rivers which proceed from the Pyrenees, are the Tet 4 and the 
Tech ; 5 two cities 6 are built on them, which bear respectively 
the same name as the rivers. There is a lake near to Rusci- 
no, 7 and a little above the sea a marshy district full of salt- 
springs, which supplies "dug mullets," for whoever digs two 
or three feet and plunges a trident into the muddy water, 
will be sure to take the fish, which are worthy of considera- 
tion on account of their size ; they are nourished in the mud 
like eels. Such are the rivers which flow from the Pyrenees 
between Narbonne and the promontory on which is built the 
temple of Venus. On the other side of Narbonne the follow- 
ing rivers descend from the Cevennes into the sea. The 
Aude, 8 the Orbe, 9 and the Rauraris. 10 On one of these 11 is 
situated the strong city of Bagtera, 12 near to Narbonne; on 
the other Agatha, 13 founded by the people of Marseilles. 

7. Of one marvel of this sea-coast, namely the " dug mul- 
lets," we have already spoken ; we will now mention another, 
even more surprising. Between Marseilles and the outlets of 
the Rhone there is a circular plain, about 100 stadia distant 

2 At the present day Narbonne is not situated on the Aude, the course 
of that river being changed. The lake of Narbonne, mentioned by Strabo, 
is not the present lake of Narbonne, but the lake of Rubine. 

3 Aries. 4 'PovffKivhtv. 5 o 'IXi&ppic. 

6 Viz. Ruscino, now superseded by Perpjguan on the Tet ; and Ili- 
birris, now Elne on the Tech. 

T " This ancient city," says Gosselin, " no longer exists, with the ex- 
ception of an old tower, scarcely a league from Perpignan, which still 
bears the name of the Tower of Roussillon. 

8 This river does not rise in the Cevennes, but in the Pyrenees. 

9 *Optf . 10 This name is evidently corrupt ; the Arauris of 
Mela and Ptolemy (the modern Herault) is probably intended. 

11 The Orbe. l2 Beziers. 13 Agde. 

B. iv. c. i. $ 7. GAUL. 273 

from the sea, and about 100 stadia in diameter. It has 
received the name of the Stony^Plain, from the circum- 
stance of its being covered^ with stones the size of the fist, 
from beneath which an abundant herbage springs up for 
the pasturage of cattle. In the midst of it are water, salt- 
springs, and^salt. The whole both of this district and that 
above it is ^xposed to the wind, but in this plain the black 
north, 1 a violent and horrible wind, rages especially : for they 
say that sometimes the stones are swept and rolled along, and 
men hurled from their carriages and stripped both of their 
arms and garments by the force of the tempest. Aristotle 
tells us that these stones being cast up by the earthquakes 
designated brastai, 2 and falling on the surface of the earth, roll 
into the hollow places of the districts ; but Posidonius, that 
the place was formerly a lake, which being congealed during 
a violent agitation, became divided into numerous stones, 
like river pebbles or the stones by the sea-shore, which 
they resemble both as to smoothness, size, and appearance. 
Such are the causes assigned by these two [writers]; however, 
neither of their opinions is credible, 3 for these stones could 
neither have thus accumulated of themselves, nor yet have 
been formed by congealed moisture, but necessarily from the 
fragments of large stones shattered by frequent convulsions. 
.ZEscliyJus having, however, learnt of the difficulty of account- 
ing for it, or having been so informed by another, has ex- 
plained itjawjiy as a myth. He makes Prometheus utter the 
following^ whilst directing Hercules the road from the Cau- 
casus to the Hesperides : 

" There you will come to the undaunted army of the Ligurians, where, 
resistless though you be, sure am I you will not worst them in battle ; for 
it is fated that there your darts shall fail you ; nor will you be able to 
take up a stone from the ground, since the country consists of soft mould ; 
but Jupiter, beholding your distress, will compassionate you, and over- 
shadowing the earth with a cloud, he will cause it to hail round stones, 
which you hurling against the Ligurian army, will soon put them to 
flight ! " 4 

Posidonius asks, would it not have been better to have 

1 The French Use. 

2 {fpdarai (retajjioi, earthquakes attended with a violent fermentation. 

3 The text has, "both of their opinions are credible,' (iriOavbe fiev 
ovv 6 Trap' aptyolv \6yog,) but this is discountenanced by the whole 

4 From the " Prometheus Loosed," which is now lost. 
VOL. i. T 

274 STRABO. CASAUB. 183. 

rained down these stones upon the Ligurians themselves, and 
thus have destroyed them all, than to make Hercules in need 
of so many stones ? As for the number, they were necessary 
against so vast a multitude ; so that in this respect the writer 
of the myth seems to me deserving of more credit than he 
who would refute it. Further, the poet, in describing it as 
fated, secures himself against such fault-finding. For if you 
dispute Providence and Destiny, you can find many similar 
things both in human affairs and nature, that you would 
suppose might be much better performed in this or that 
way ; as for instance, that Egypt should have plenty of rain 
of its own, without being irrigated from the land of Ethio- 
pia. That it would have been much better if Paris had suf- 
fered shipwreck on his voyage to Sparta, instead of expiating 
his offences after having carried off Helen, and having been 
the cause of so great destruction both amongst the Greeks 
and Barbarians. Euripides attributes this to Jupiter : 

" Father Jupiter, willing evil to the Trojans and suffering to the 
Greeks, decreed such things." 

8. As to the mouths of the Rhone, Polybius asserts that 
there are but two, and blames Timaeus 1 for saying five. Ar- 
temidorus says that there are three. Afterwards Marius, 
observing that the mouth was becoming stopped up and diffi- 
cult of entrance on account of the deposits of mud, caused a 
new channel to be dug, which received the greater part of the 
river into it. 2 This he gave to the people of Marseilles in 
recompense for their services in the war against the Ambrones 
and Toygeni. 3 This canal became to them a source of much 
revenue, as they levied a toll from all those who sailed up or 
down it : notwithstanding, the entrance [to the river J still 
continues difficult to navigate, on account of its great impetu- 
osity, its deposits, and the [general] flatness of the country, 
so that in foul weather you cannot clearly discern the land 

1 The historian, son of Andromachus. 

2 The mouths of the Rhone, like those of other impetuous rivers, are 
subject to considerable changes, and vary from one age to another. Ptole- 
my agrees with Polybius in stating that there are but two mouths to the 
Rhone, and those which he indicates are at the present day almost en- 
tirely filled up ; the one being at Aigues-Mortes, the other the canal now 
called the Rhone-Mort. 

3 Two Helvetian tribes who united themselves to the Cimbri to pass 
into Italy, and were defeated near Aix by Marius. 

B. iv. c. i. 9. GAUL. THE NARBONNAISE. 275 

even when quite close. On this account the people of Mar- 
seilles, who wished by all means to inhabit the country, set up 
towers as beacons ; they have even erected a temple to Diaiia 
ofEphesus on a piece of thejand, which the mouths of the 
rixfijs haveJ[onnje^Lintp_anislaiid. Above the outlets of the 
Rhone is a salt-lake wluclTtney call Stomalimne. 1 It abounds 
in shell and other fish. There are some who enumerate this 
amongst the mouths of the Rhone, especially those who say 
that it has seven 2 mouths. But in this they are quite mis- 
taken ; for there is a mountain between, which separates the 
lake from the river. Such then is the disposition and extent 
of the coast from the Pyrenees to Marseilles. 

9. The [coast] which extends from this] to the 
river Var, and theJLigunans who dwell near it, contains the 
Massilian cities of Tauroentium, 3 Olbia, 4 Antipolis, 5 Nicsea,^ 
and the sea-port of Augustus Caesar, called Forum Julium, 7 
which is situated between Olbia and Antipolis, and distant 
from Marseilles about 600 stadia. The Var is between Anti- 
polis and Nicasa ; distant from the one about 20 stadia, from 
the other about 60 ; so that according to the boundary now 
marked Nicpea belongs to Italy, although it is a city of the peo- 
ple^ of Marseilles, for they built 'these cities [as a defence] 
against the barbarians who dwelt higher up the country, in 
order to maintain the sea free, as the barbarians possessed the 
land. For this [region] is mountainous and fortified by nature, 
leaving however a considerable extent of plain country near 
Marseilles ; but as you proceed towards the east the country is 
so hemmed in by the mountains, as scarcely to leave a sufficient 
road for passage by the sea-shore. The former districts are 
inhabited by the Salyes, 8 the latter by the Ligurians, who 
border on Italy, of whom we shall speak afterwards. It should 
here be mentioned, that although Antipolis is situated in 
the Narbonnaise, and Nicaea in Italy, this latter is de- 
pendent on Marseilles, anct Torms part of that province ; while 

1 Now 1'etang de Berre or de Martigyes. 

2 The French editors propose to read here five mouths, thus referring 
to the opinion of Timseus. This, Kramer observes, Strabo probably in- 
tended to do. Still, as there were some who were of opinion the Rhone 
has seven mouths, as appears from Apoll. Rhod. Argonaut, iv. 634, he 
did not venture to touch the text. 

3 Taurenti. * Eoube. 5 Antibes. fi Nice. " Frejus. 
8 Inhabitants of Provence. 

"* T 2 

276 STRABO. CASAUB. 184. 

Antipolis is ranked amongst the Italian cities, and freed from 
the government of the Marseillese by a judgment given against 

10. Lying off this narrow pass along the coast, as you com- 
mence your journey from Marseilles, are the Stoecbades islands. 1 
Three of these are considerable, and two small. They are 
cultivated by the people of Marseilles. Anciently they con- 
tained a garrison, placed here to defend them from the attacks 
of pirates, for they have good ports. After the Stoschades 
come [the islands ofj Planasia 2 and Lero, 3 both of them in- 
habited. In Lero, which lies opposite to Antipolis, is a 
temple erected to the hero Lero. There are other small 
islands not worth mentioning, some of them before Marseilles, 
others before the rest of the coast which I have been describing. 
As to the harbours, those of the seaport [of Forum- Julium] 4 
and Marseilles are considerable, the others are but middling. 
Of this latter class is the port Oxybius, 5 so named from the 
Oxybian Ligurians. This concludes what we have to say of 
this coast. 

1 1 . The country above this is bounded principally by the 
surrounding mountains and rivers. Of these the Rhone is 
the most remarkable, being both the largest, and capable of 
being navigated farther than any of the others, and also re- 

vpeiving into it a greater number of tributaries ; of these we 

Nmust speak in order. Commencing at Marseilles, and pro- 

y ceeding to the country between the Alps and the Rhone, to 

U; the river Durance, .dwell the Salyes for a space of 500 stadia. 

From thence you proceed in a ferry-boat to the city of Ca- 

ballio; 6 beyond this the whole country belongs to the Cavari 

as far as the junction of the Isere with the Rhone ; it is here 

too that the Cevennes approach the Rhone. From the Durance 

to this point is a distance of 700 stadia. 7 The Salyes occupy 

the plains and mountains above these. The Yocontii, Tri- 

corii, Iconii, and Medylli, He above the Cavari. 8 Between 

the Durance and the Isere there are other rivers which flow 

1 Les Isles d' Hieres, a row of islands off Marseilles. 

2 Isle St. Houorat. 3 Isle Ste. Marguerite. 4 Frejus. 
5 Between the river d' Argents and Antibes. 6 Cavaillon. 

7 From the mouth of the Durance to the mouth of the Isere, following 
the course of the Rhone, the distance is 24 leagues, or 7 % 20 Olympic stadia. 

8 The Vocontii occupied the territories of Vaison and Die. The 
Tricorii appear to have inhabited a small district east of Die, on the 

B. iv. c. i. 11. GAUL. THE NARBONNAISE. 


from the Alps into the Rhone ; two of these, after having 
flowed round the city of the Cavari, discharge themselves by 
a common outlet into the Rhone. The Sulgas, 1 which is the 
third, mixes with the Rhone near the city of Vindalum, 2 
where Cnseus JEnobarbus in a decisive engagement routed 
many myriads of the Kelts. Between these are the cities of 
Avenio, 3 Arausio, 4 and Aeria, 5 which latter, remarks Arte- 
midorus, is rightly named aerial, being situated in a very lofty 
position. The whole of this country consistsjifjjlains abound- 
ing in pasturage, excepting on the route from Aeria to Avenio, 
where there are narrow defiles and woods to traverse. It was 
at the point where the river Isere and the Rhone unite near 
the Cevennes, that Quintus Fabius Maximus -ZEmilianus, 6 with 
scarcely 30,000 men, cut to pieces 200,000 Kelts. 7 Here he 
erected a white stone as a trophy, and two temples, one to 
Mars, and the other to Hercules. From the Isere to Vienne, 
the metropolis of the Allobroges, situated on the Rhone, the 
distance is 320 stadia. Lugdunuin 8 is a little above Vienne 
at the confluence of the Saone 9 and the Rhone. The distance 
by land [from this latter city] to Lugdunum, passing through 
the country of the Allobroges, is about 200 stadia, and rather 
more by water. Formerly the Allobroges engaged in war, 
their armies consisting of many myriads ; they now occupy 
themselves in cultivating the plains and valleys of the Alps. 
They dwell generally in villages, the most notable of them in- 
habiting Vienne, which was merely a village, although 
called the metropolis of their nation ; they have now improved 
and embellished it as a city ; it is situated on the Rhone. So 
full and rapid is the descent of this river from the Alps, that 
the flow of its waters through Lake^Leman may be dis- 
tinguished for many stadia. Having descended into the plains 
of the countries of the Allobroges, and Segusii, it falls into 
the Saone, near to Lugdunum, a city of the Segusii. 10 The 

banks of the Drac. The Iconii were to the east of Gap ; and the Medylli 
in La Maurienne, along the Aar. 

1 The Sorgue. 2 Vedene. 3 Avignon. 4 Orange. 

5 Le mont Ventoux. 

6 Casaubon remarks that ^Emilianus is a name more than this Roman 
general actually possessed. 

VLjvy states that 120,000 Kelts were slain, and Pliny, 130,000. 
^ Lyons. 9 *Apap. 

10 The Allobroges and Segusii were separated by the Rhone ; the former 
inhabiting the left bank of the river. 

278 STRABO. CASAUK. 186. 

Saone rises in the Alps, 1 and separates the Sequani, the ./Edui, 
and the Lincasii. 2 It afterwards receives the Doubs, a navi- 
gable river which rises in the same mountains, 3 still however 
preserving its own name, and consisting of the two, mingles 
with the Rhone. The Rhone in like manner preserves its 
name, and flows on to Vienne. At their rise these three 
rivers flow towards the north, then in a westerly direction, 
afterwards uniting into one they take another turn and flow 
towards the south, and having received other rivers, they 
flow in this direction to the sea. Such is the country situ- 
ated between the Alps and the Rhone. 

12. The main part of the country on the other side of the is inhabited by the Volcae, surnamed Arecomisci. Their 
naval station is ft[fl J*bonne, ^which may justly be called the 
emporium of all Gaul, as it far surpasses every^olher in the 
multitude of those whojiegort 4 to it. The Volcse border on 
and Cavari being opposite to them on 

the other side of the river. However, the name of the Cavari 
has so obtained, that all the barbarians inhabiting near now 
go by that designation ; nay, even those who are no longer 
barbarians, but follow the Roman customs, both in their 
speech and mode of life, and some of those even who have 
adopted the Roman polity. Between the Arecomisci and the 
Pyrenees there are some other small and insignificant nations. 
Nemausus 5 is the metropolis of the Arecomisci ; though far 
inferior tojjarbonnfl both'as^ojts^mme^c^r^n'd the number 
of ToreTgners attracted thither, it surpasses that city in the 
number of its citizens ; for it has under its dominion four and 
twenty different villages all well inhabited, and by the same 
people, who pay tribute ; it likewise enjoys the rights of the 
Latin towns, so that in Nemausus you meet with Roman 
citizens who have obtained the honours of the sedile and quass- 
torship, wherefore this nation is not subject to the orders 
issued by the praetors from Rome. The city is situated on 

1 The Saone rises in the Vosges. 

2 These people are elsewhere called by Strabo Lingones, the name by 
which they are designated by other writers. 

3 The Doubs rises in the Jura, not in the Alps. Ptolemy falls into the 
same mistake as Strabo. 

4 We have here followed the proposed correction of Ziegler. 

5 N lines. 

B. iv. c. i. 13. GAUL. THE NARBONNAISE. 279 

the road from Iberia to Italy ; this road is very good in 
the summer, bat muddy and overflowed by the rivers during 
winter and spring. Some of these streams are crossed 
in ferry-boats, and others by means of bridges constructed 
either of wood orstone. The irmruTaTions~which destroy the 
roads are'causeHnBy the winter torrents, which sometimes 
pour down from the Alps even in summer-time after the 
melting of the snows. To perform the route before mentioned, 
the shortest way is, as we have said, across the territory of the 
Vocontii direct to the Alps ; the other, along the coast of 
Marseilles and Liguria, is longer, although it oifers an easier 
passage into Italy, as the mountains are lower. Nemausus 
is about 100 stadia distant from the Rhone, situated opposite 
to the small town of laraseon, and about 720 stadia from 
Narbonne. The Tectosages, 1 and -certain others whom we 
shall mention afterwards, border on the range of the Cevennes, 
and inhabit its southern side as far as the promontory of 
the Vote. Respecting all the others we will speak here- 

13. But the Tectosages dwell near to the Pyrenees, border- 
ing for a small space the northern side of the Cevennes ; 2 the 
land they inhabit is rich in gold. It appears that formerly 
they were so powerfuraind numerous, that dissensions having 
arisen amongst them, they drove a vast multitude of their 
number from their homes ; and that these men associating 
with others of different nations took possession of Phrygia, next 
to_Cappadocia, and the Paphlagonians. <5f this those who 
areliow called the Tectosages afford us proof, for [Phrygia con- 
tains] three nations, one of them dwelling near to the city of 
Ancyra, 3 being called the Tectosages ; the remaining two, the 
Trocmi and Tolistobogii. 4 The resemblance these nations bear 
to the Tectosages is evidence~o7jtheir having immigratedjrom 
KelticaTtKough we are unable to say from which district they 
came, as there does not appear to be any people at the present 
time bearing the name of Trocmi or Tolistobogii, who in- 

1 This name is written diversely, Tectosages, Tectosagae, and Tectosagi. 
It appears to be comp6sed of the two Latin words, " tectus," covered, and 
" sagum," a species of cassock. 

2 Viz. between Lodeve and Toulouse ; we must remember that Strabo . 
supposed the chain of the Cevennes to run west and east. 

3 Angora. 

4 These three nations inhabited Galatia, of which Ancyra was the capital 

280 STRABO. CASAUB. 188. 

habit either beyond the Alps, the Alps themselves, or on this 
side the Alps. It would seem that continual emigration has 
drained them completely from their native country, a circum- 
stance which has occurred to many other nations, as some 
say that the Brennus, who Jed an expedition to Delphi, 1 was a 
i ; but we are unaple to say where the Prausi 

formerly inhabited. It is said that the Tectosages took part in 
the expedition to Delphi, and that the treasures found in the city 
of Toulouse by the Roman general Caepio formed a portion of 
the bootv^ained there, which was afterwards increased by 
otterings which the citizens made from their own property, and 
consecrated in order to conciliate the god.' 2 And that it was 
for daring to touch these that Ca^pio terminated so miserably 
his existence, being driven from his country as a plunderer of 
the temples of the gods, and leaving behind him his daughters, 
who, as Timagenes informs us, having been wickedly violated, 
perished miserably. However, the account given by v Posi- 
doniu^ is the more credible. He tells us that the wealth found 
in Toulouse amounted to somewhere about 15,000 taTentsTaTpart 
ofwKIch was hidden in the chapels, and the remainder in the 
sacred lakes, and that it was not coined [money], but gold and 
silver in bullion. But at this time the temple of Delphi was 
emptied of_these treasures, having been _pillaged by the 
fhocaeans at the period of the Sacred war ; and supposing any 
to have been left, it would have been distributed amongst 
many. Nor is it probable that the Tectosages returned home, 
since they came off miserably after leaving Delphi, and owing 
to their dissensions were scattered here and there throughout 
the country ; there is much more likelihood in the statement 
made by Posidonius and many others, that the country 
abounding in gold, and the inhabitants being superstitious, 
and not living expensively, they hid their treasures in many 
different places, the lakes in^particular affording them a hiding- 
place for depositing~tKeir"gold and silver bullion. When the 
Romans obtained possession of the country they put jojx-lhese 
lakes to public sale, and many of the purchasers found therein 

1 279 years before the Christian era. 

2 Justin tells us that the Tectosages on returning to Toulouse_from the 
expedition, were attacked with a pestilential malady, IromTwhich they 
could find no relief until they complied with the advice of their augurs, 
and cast the ill-gotten wealth into a lake. Justin, lib. xxxii. c. 3. 

B. iv. c. i. 14. GAUL. THE NARBONNAISE. 281 

solid masses of silver. In Toulouse there was a sacred temple, 
held in greatjreverence by the inhabitants of the surrounding 
country, and on this account loaded with riches, inasmuch as 
there were many who offered gifts, amTncTone dared to touch 

14. Toulouse is situated upon the narrowest part of the 
isthmus which separates the ocean from the sea of Narbonne ; 
the breadth of the [isthmus], according to Posidonius, being 
less than 3000 stadia. The perfect similarity maintained 
throughout this country both in respect tojts rivers, and to 
the exterior and interior sea, 1 appears to us worthy of especial 
notice, as we have said before. This, on reflection, will prove to 
be one main cause of the excellence of this country, since the 
inhabitants are enabled mutually to communicate, and to pro- 
cure from each other the necessaries of life ; this is peculiarly 
the case at the present time, when on account of their leisure 
from war they are devoting thp.msplves to agriculture and the 
pursuits of social life. In this we are persuaded that we be- 
hold theworFoO'rovidence ; such a disposition of these re- 
gions not resulting from chance, but from the thought of some 
[intelligence]. The Rhone, for instance, is navigable to a 
considerable distance for vessels of heavy burden, which it is 
capable of transmitting through various districts of the coun- 
try by means of other rivers which fall into it, and are like- 
wise fitted for the navigation of large vessels. To the Rhone 
succeeds the Saone, 2 and into this latter river falls the Doubs ; 
thence the merchandise is carried by land to the river Seine ; 
whence it is transported to the ocean and the [countries of 
the] Lexovii and Caleti, 3 the distance thence to Britain being 
less than a day's journey. The navigation of the Rhone being 
difficult on account of the rapidity of its current, the merchants 
prefer to transport in waggons certain of their wares, which 
are destined for the Arverni, 4 and the river Loire, 5 notwith- 
standing the vicinity of the Rhone in some places, but the 
road being level and the distance not far, (about 800 stadia,) 
they do not make use of water carriage on account of the 

1 The Atlantic and Mediterranean. 2 *Apap. 

3 The Lexovii inhabited the southern banks of the Seine, Lizieux was 
anciently their capital. The Caleti occupied the opposite side of the 
Seine, and the sea-coast as far as Treport. 

4 The inhabitants of Auvergne. 5 The ancient Liger. 


facility of the transport by land, from thence the merchandise is 
easily conveyed by the Loire. This river flows from the Ce- 
vennes into the ocean. From Narbonne the voyage to the 
Aude l is short, but the journey by land to the river Garonne 
longer, being as much as 700 or 800 stadia. The Garonne like- 
wise flows into the ocean. Such is what we have to say con- 
cerning the inhabitants of the Narbonnaise, who were for- 
merly ^ named Kelts. In my opmToiT the" celebrity of the 
Kelts induced the Grecians to confer that na_me on the whole 
of the Galatce ; the~~vicmity of the Massilians may alsoliave 
had sometEmg to do with it. 2 


1 . WE must now speak of the AgmiaEli and the fourteen 
Galatic nations pertaining to them, situated between the Ga- 
ronne and thejLoire, some of which extend to the river Khone 

"and the plainiTof the Narbonnaise. Generally speaking, the 
Aquitani may be said to oliffer from theGalatic race, both as 
to form of body and language, resembling''more nearly the 
IbertaTis: They are bounded by the~Garonne, and dwell be- 
tween this river and the Pyrenees. There are above twenty 
nations which bear the name of Aquitani, small and obscure, 

~the~ major part of them dwelling by the ocean, and the re- 
mainder in the interior and by the extremities of the Cevennes, 
as far as the Tectosages. This district, however, being too 
small, they added to it the territory between the Garonne 
and the Loire. These rivers are nearly parallel with the 
Pyrenees, and form with them two parallelograms, bounded on 
the remaining sides by the ocean and the mountains of the 
Cevennes. 3 Both of these rivers are navigable for a distance 

1 *Ara%. 

2 The whole of Gaul bore the name of Keltica long before the Romans 
had penetrated into that country. After their conquest of the southern 
provinces, they distinguished them from the rest of Keltica by conferring 
on them the name of Gallia Narbonensis. Aristotle gave the name of 
Kelts to the inhabitants of the country near Narbonne. Polybius tells us 
that the Pyrenees separated the Iberians from the Kelts ; while Diodorus 
Siculus fixed the position of the Kelts between the Alps and the Pyrenees. 

3 " Strabo," says Gosselin, u always argues on the hypothesis that the 

B. iv. c. ii. 1. GAUL. AQUITAINE. 283 

of about 2000 stadia. 1 The Garonne, after being augmented 
by three other rivers/ 2 discharges itself into the ["ocean] be- 
tween the [country] of the Bituriges, surnamed the Vivisci, 8 
and that of the Santoni ; 4 both of them Gallic nations. 

The Bituriges are the only foreign people who dwell among 
the Aquitam without forming a part of them. Their em- 
porium is Burdegala, 5 situated on a creek formed by the o 
lets of the river. The Loire discharges itself between the 
Pictones and the NamngtEe. 6 Formerly there was an em- 
porium on this river named Corbilon, mentioned by Polybius 
wKeh speaking of the fictions of Pytheas. " The Marseillese, 
[says he,] when interrogated by Scipio 7 at their meeting, had 
nothing to_teUa^ojit_^ritain worth mentioning, nor yet had 
the peopleof the I^arbonnaise, nor those 6T Corbilon ; notwith- 
standing these were the two principal cities of the district, 
Pytheas alone dared to forge so many lies [concerning that 
island]." Mediolanium 8 is the capital of the Santoni. The 
part of Aquitaino next the ocean is for the most part sandy 
and meagre/ producing millet, but barren of all other bruits. 
Here is the gulf wMch, with that on"tHe coast of Narbonne, 
forms the isthmus. Both these gulfs 9 go by the name of the 
Galatic gulf. The former gulf belongs to the Tarbelli. 10 
These people possess the ri^eaLgoldJUJnes ; masses of gold as 
big as the fist can contain, and requiring hardly any purifying, 

Pyrenees run from south to north; that the Garonne and the Loire 
flowed in the same direction ; that the Cevennes stretched from west to 
east; and that the coasts of Gaul, from the Pyrenees, rose gently towards 
the north, bending considerably east." 

1 The Garonne becomes navigable at Cazferes near to Rieux, in the 
ancient Comte de Comminges. From this point to its mouth, following 
the sinuosities of the river, there are about 68 leagues of 20 to a degree, 
or 2030 Olympic stadia. The Loire is navigable as far as St. Rambert, 
about three leagues from St. Etienne-en-Forez, that is to say, double the 
distance assigned by Strabo. 2000 stadia measured from the mouth of 
the Loire would extend merely as far as Orleans. 

2 Probably the Arriege, the Tarn, and the Dordogne. 

3 'loaicuv MSS. 

4 The present Saintes was the capital of this nation. 5 Bordeaux. 

6 Poictiers was the capital of the Pictones or Pictavi, and Nantes of the 

7 Scipio ^Emilianus. 8 Saintes. 
9 The Gulfs of Gascony and Lyons. 

1C The Tarbelli occupied the sea-coast from the Pyrenees to the Lake of 

284 SIR ABO. CASAUB. 190. 

being found in diggings scarcely beneath the surface of the 
earth, the remainder consisting of dust and lumps, which like- 
wise require but little working. In the interior and moun- 
tainous parts [of Aquitaine] the soil is superior ; for instance, 
in the district near the Pyrenees belonging to the Con venae, 1 
which name signifies people assembled from different countries 
to dwell in one place. Here is the city of Lugdunum, 2 and 
the hot springs of the Onesii, 3 which are most excellent for 
drinking. The country of the Auscii 4 likewise is fine. 

2. The nations between the Garonne and the Loire an- 
nexed to the Aquitani, are the Elui, 5 who commence at the 
Rhone. After these the Vellaei, 6 who were formerly com- 
prehended amongst the Arverni, 7 but now form a people to 
themselves. After these Arverni come the Lemovices, 8 and 
Petrocorii, 9 and after them the Nitiobriges, 9 the Cadurci, 9 and 
the Bituriges, 9 surnamed Cubi. Along the ocean we meet 
with the Santoni, and Pictones, 10 the former dwelling by the 
Garonne, as we have stated, and the latter by the Loire. The 
Ruteni and the Gabales ! l are in the vicinity of the Narbonnaise. 
The Petrocorii and Bituriges-Cubi possess excellent iron- 
wor^s, the Cadurci linen-factories, and the Ruteni silyer- 
mines : the Gabales likewise possess silver-mines. On 
certain amongst the Aquitani the Romans have conferred the 
rights of Latin cities ; such for instance as the Auscii, and the 
Convenae. , fflP-l.fif. 

3. The Arverni are situated along the Loire. Nempssus, 
*0 their metropolis, is built on the same river. 12 This river having 

. ^ flowed past Genabum, 13 an emporium of the Carnutes, 14 situated 
about the"nnddle^Fits course, discharges itself into the ocean. 
A great proof of the jormjer_ower of the Arverni, is the fact 
of th^fr^qu^ntjwars which they sustained against the Romans., 

I The Canton of Comminges. 2 St. Bertrand. 

3 Xylander thinks that these Onesii may be identical with the Monesi 
of Pliny. Gosselin says that the hot springs are probably the baths of 
Bagnieres-sur-PAdour. * The territory of the city of Auch. 

5 The inhabitants of Vivarais. 6 The inhabitants of Velai. 

r The inhabitants of Auvergne. 8 The Limousins. 

9 The inhabitants of Perigord, Agenois, Querci, and Berri. 

10 The inhabitants of Saintonge and Poitou. 

II The inhabitants of Rouergue and Gevaudan. 

12 Gosselin supposes that this city is Clermont in Auvergne at some dis- 
tance from the Allier. 

13 Orleans. u The people of the Chartrain. 

B. iv. c. m. 1. GAUL. AQUITAINE. 285 

sometimes with armies of^ 200,000 men, and sometimes with 
double that number, which was the amount of their force 
when they fought against divus Csesar underjhe command of 
Vercingetorix. 1 Before this they had brought 200,000 men 
against Maximus JEmilianus, and the same number against 
Domitius ^Enobarbus. Their battles with Cassar took place, 
one in Gergovia, 2 a city of the Arverni situated on a lofty 
mountain, the birthplace of Vercingejprix ; the other, near 
to Alesia, 3 a city oTlhelilandubii, who border on the Arverni ; 
this city is likewise situated on a high hill, surrounded by 
mountains, and between two rivers. Here the war was ter- 
minated by the capture of their leader. The battle with 
Maximus JEmilianus was fought near the confluence of the 
Isere and the Rhone, at the point where the mountains of the 
Cevennes approach the latter river. That with Domitius was 
fought lower down at the confluence of the Sulgas 4 and the 
Rhone. The Arverni extended their dominion as far as 
Narbonne and the borders of Marseilles, and exercised au- 
thority over the nations as far as the Pyrenees, the ocean, and 
the Rhine. Luerius, 5 the father of Bituitus who fought against 
Maximus and Domitius, is said to have been so distinguished 
by his riches and luxury, that to give a proof of his opulence 
to his friends, he caused himself to be dragged across a plain 
in a car, whilst he scattered gold and silver coin in every 
direction for those who followed him to gather up. 


1. NEXT in order after Aquitaine and the Narbonnaise, 
is that portion [of Gaul] expending as far as the JRhine from 

1 Caesar himself (lib. vii. c. 76) states the number at 248,000 men. 

2 A city near Clermont. 

3 Alise. The ruins of Alesia, says Gosselin, still exist near to Flavigni 
jn^Boirgiindy, on Mount Auxois, between two small rivers, the Oze and the 

Ozerain, which flow into the Brenne. 4 The Sorgue. 

5 In Athenaeus, (lib. iv. p. 152,) this name is written Luernius. 

286 STRABO. CASAUB. 191. 

the rivejiLQire, and the Rhone, where it passes by Lugdunlm :v 
in its descent from its source. The upper regions of this 
district from the sources of the Rhine and Rhone, nearly to 
the middle of the plains, pertain to Lugdunum ; the remainder, 
with the regions next the ocean, is comprised in another divi- 
sion which belongs to the Belga3. We will describe the two 

2. Lugdunum itself, situated on 2 a hill, at the confluence 
of the Saone 3 and the Rhone, belongs to the Romans. It is the 
most populous city after Narbonne. It carries on a great 
commerce, and the Roman prefects here coin both gold and 
silver money. Before this city, at the confluence of the 
rivers, is situated the temple dedicated by all the Galatae in 
common to Caesar .Augustus. The altar is splendid, and has 
inscribed on it the names of sixty people, and images of them, 
one for each, and also another great altar. 4 

This is the principal city of the nation of the Segusiani who 
lie between the Rhone and the Doubs. 5 The other nations 
who extend to the Rhine, are bounded in part by the Doubs, 
and in part by the Saone. These two rivers, as said before, 
descend from the Alps, and, falling into one stream, flow into 
the Rhone. There is likewise another river which has its 
sources in the Alps, and is named the__Seine. 6 It flows 
parallel with the Rhine, through a nation bearing the same 
name as itself, 7 and so into the ocean. The Sequani are 
bounded on the east by the Rhine, and on the opposite side 
by the Saone. It is from them that the Romans procure 
the finest salted-pork. Between the Doubs and Saone dwells 
the nation oi the Jdui, who possess the city of Cabyllinum, 8 
situated on the Saone and the fortress of Bibracte. 9 The 

1 Lyons. 

2 M'SS. read VTTO, " under," we have not hesitated to translate it iiri, like 
the Italian, French, and German versions; although Kramer remarks 
"paulo audacius," of Coray's reading tirl in the Greek. 3 "Apap. 

4 Kramer says that aXXof is manifestly corrupt. I have ventured to 
translate it another altar. 

5 Kramer concurs with Falconer and Gosselin in understanding this 
passage to have been originally between the Rhone and the Loire. 

6 S^Koavat, 1 . 7 The Sequani. 

8 Chalons-sur-Saone. 

9 Autun, accordinglo Gosselin. Beurect, according to Ferrarius. 

B. iv. c. in. 3. GAUL. THE LYONNAISE. 287 

are said to be related to the_JfomajisAand they were 
the first to enter into friendship and alliance with them. On 
the other side of the Saone dwell the Sequani, who have for 
long been at enmity with the Romans and ^Edui, having 
frequently allied themselves with the Germans in their in- 
cursions into Italy. It was then that they proved their strength, 
for united to them the Germans were powerful, but when 
separated, weak. As for the jEdui, their alliance with the 
Romans naturally rendered them the enemies of the Sequani, 2 
but the enmity was increased by their contests concerning the 
river which divides them, each nation claiming the Sapne ex- 
clusively for themselves, and likewise the jtolls on Yes_seis 
passing. However, at the present time, the whole of it is under 
the dominion of the Romans. 

'6. The n"rsF~ofall the nations dwelling on the Rhine are 
the Helvetii, amongst whom are the sources of that river in 
Mount Adula, 3 which forms part_of^the Alps. From this 
mountain, but in an opposite direction, likewise proceeds the 
Adda, which flows towards Cisalpine Gaul, and fills lake 
Larius, 4 near to which stands [the city of] Como ; thence it 
discharges itself into the Po, of which we shall speak after- 
wards. The Rhine also nows into vast marshes and a great 
lake, 5 which borders on the Rhaeti and Vindelici, 6 who dwell 
partly in the Alps, and partly beyond the Alps. Asinius 
says that the length of this river is 6000 stadia, but 'such is 
not the case, for taken in a straight line it does not much 
exceed half that length, and 1000 stadia is quite sufficient to 
allow for its sinuosities. In fact this river is so rapid that it 
is difficult to throw bridges across it, although after its descent 
from the mountains it is borne the remainder of the way 
through level plains ; now how could it maintain its rapidity 
and vehemence, if in addition to this level channel, we suppose 
it also to have long and frequent tortuosities ? Asinius like- 

1 Caesar, Tacitus, and other writers, also speak ojF_this relationship of 
itH th 

e Romans. 
Lit " As for The ^Edui on these accounts indeed." 

3 The sources of the Rhine take their rise in Mount St. Gothard and 
Mount Bernardin, while the Adda rises in the glaciers of the Valteline. 
Adula, however, may have been the name of the Rhaetian Alps. 

4 The Lake of Como. 5 The Lake of Constance. 

6 The Rheeti occupied the Tirol ; the Vindelici that portion of Bavaria 
south of the Danube. 

288 STRABO. CASAL-B. 193. 

wise asserts that this river has two mouths, and blames those 
who say that it has more. 1 This river and the Seine embrace 
within their tortuosities a certain extent of country, which 
however is not considerable. They both flow from south to 
north. Britain lies opposite to them ; but nearest to the 
Rhine, from which you may see Kent, which is the most easterly 
part of the island. The Seine is a little further. It was here 
that divns Cgsar established^ dock-yard when he sailed to 
Britain. The navigable portion of the Seine, commencing 
from" the point where they receive the merchandise from the 
Saone, is of greater extent than the [navigable portions] of 
the Loire and Garonne. From Lugdunum 2 to the Seine is [a 
distance of] 1000 stadia, and not twice this distance from the 
outlets of the Rhone to Lugdunum. They say that the Hel- 
vetii, 3 though rich in gold, nevertheless, devoted themselves to 
pillage oliT)eholding the wealth jrf the^Cimbri, 4 [accumulated 
by that means ;] and that two out of their three tribes perished 
entirely in their military expeditions, iiowever, the multitude 
of descendants who sprang from this remainder was proved in 
their war with divus Cassar. in which about 4QQ.OOO of their 
number were destroyed ; the 8000 who survived the war, 
being spared by the conqueror, that their country mi^ht not 
be_ left desert, a prey to the neighbouring Germans. 5 

4. After the Helvetii, the Sequani 6 and Mediomatrici 7 
dwell along the Rhine, amongst whom are the Tribocchi, 8 a 
German nation who emigrated from their country hither. 
Mount Jura, which is in the country of the Sequani, separates 
that people from the Helvetii. To the west, above the Hel- 
vetii and Sequani, dwell the JEdui and Lingones; the Leuci 
and a part of the Lingones dwelling above the Mediomatrici. 
The nations between the Loire and the Seine, and beyond the 
Rhone and the Saone, are situated to the north near to the 

1 Ptolemy says it has three. It appears that the ancient mouths of this 
river were not the same as the present. 2 Lyons. 3 The Swiss. 

4 Gosselin identifies the Cimbri as the inhabitants of Jutland or Den- 

5 Casaubon remarks that the text must be corrupt, since Strabo's ac- 
count of the Helvetii must have been taken from Ceesar, who (lib. i. c. 
29) states the number of slain at 258,000, and the survivors at 110,000. 

6 The Sequani occupied La Franche-Comte. 

7 Metz was the capital of the Mediomatrici. 

8 These people dwelt between the Rhine and the Vosges, nearly from 
Colmar to Hagenau. 

B. iv. c. in. 4, 5. GAUL. THE LYONNAISE. 289 

Allobroges, 1 and the parts about Lyons. The most celebrated 
amongst them are the Arverni and Carnutes, 2 through both 
of whose territories the- Loire flows before discharging itself 
into the ocean. The distance from the rivers of Keltica to 
Britain is 320 stadia ; for departing in the evening with the 
ebb tide, you will arrive on the morrow at the island about 
the eighth hour. 3 After the Mediomatrici and Tribocchi, 
the Treviri 4 inhabit along the Rhine ; in their country the 
Roman generals now engaged in the German war have con- 
structed a bridge. Opposite this place on the other bank of 
the river dwelt the Ubii, whom Agrippa with their own con- 
sent brought over to this side the Rhine. 5 The Nervii. 6 
another^German nation, are contiguous to the Treviri ; and last 
the Menapii, who inhabit either bank of the river near to its 
outlets ; they dwell amongst marshes and forests, not lofty, 
but consisting of dense and thorny wood. Near to these dwell 
the Sicambri, 7 who are likewise Germans. The country next 
the whole [eastern] bank^is TnhaTnted by the Suevi, who are 
also named Germans, but are superior both in power and 
number to the others, whom they drove out, and who have 
now taken refuge on this side the Rhine. Other tribes have 
sway in different places ; they are successively a prey to the 
flames of war, the former inhabitants for the most part being 

5. The Senones, the Remi, the Atrebates, and the Ebu- 
rones dwell west of the Treviri and Nervii. 8 Close to the 
Menapii and near the sea are the Morini, the Bellovaci, the 
Ambiani, the Suessiones, and the Caleti, as far as the outlet 

1 The Allobroges dwelt to the left of the Rhone, between that river and 
the Isere. 

2 The Arverni have given their name to Auvergne, and the Carnutes to 

3 Strabo here copies Caesar exactly, who, speaking of his second passage 
into Britain, (lib. v. c. 8,) says: "Ad solis occasum naves solvit .... ae- 
cessum estad Britanniam omnibus navibus meridiano fere tempore." 

* The capital of these people is Treves. 

5 Viz. to the western bank of the river. 

6 The Nervii occupied Hainault, and the Comte de Namur. 

7 The Sicambri occupied the countries of Berg, Mark, and Arensberg. 
They afterwards formed part of the people included under the name of 
Franci or Franks. 

8 Bavai, to the south of Valenciennes, was the capital of the Nervii ; 
Duricortora, now Rheims, of the Remi ; Arras of the Atrebates, and Ton- 
gres of the Eburones. 

VOL. i. u 

290 STRABO. CASAru. 194. 

of the river Seine. 1 The countries of the Morini, the Atre- 
bates, and the Eburones are similar to that of the Menapii. 
It consists of a forest filled with low trees ; of great extent, 
but not near so large as writers have described it, viz. 4000 
stadia. 2 It is named Ar duenna. 3 In the event of warlike 
incursions the inhabitants^ would interweave the flexible 
brambly shrubs, thus stopping up the passages [into their 
country]. They also fixed stakes in various places, and then 
retreated with their whole families into the recesses of the 
forest, to smalLJslands surrounded by marshes. During the 
rainy season these proved secure hidinjr^places. but in times 
of drought they were easily taken. However, at the present 
time all the nations on this side the Rhine 4 dwell in peace 
under' the dominion of the Romans. The Parisii dwell along 
the river Seine, and inhabit an island formed by the river ; 
their city is Lucotocia. 5 The Meldi and Lexovii border on 
the ocean. The most considerable, however, of all these na- 
tions are the Remi. Duricortora, their metropolis, is well 
populated, and is the residence of the Roman prefects. 



1. AFTER the nations mentioned come those of the Belgae, 
who dwell next the ocean. Of their number are the V enetl, 6 
who fought a naval battle with Cassar. They had prepared 
to resistjiis passage into Britain, beingj)ossessed oi ihejggfl- 
merce |"of that island") themselves. But Caesar easily gained 
the victory^ not ^however Dy means of his beaks, (Tor their 

1 Terouane was the principal city of the. Morini, Beauvais of the Bel- 
lovaci, Amiens of the Ambiani, Soissons of the Suessiones, and Lile- 
bonne of the Caleti. 

2 Caesar (lib. vi. c. 29) describes the forest of Ardennes as 500 miles 
in extent. 

pgLldfiBnes. * West of the Rhine. 

^Ptolemy names it Lucotecia ; Ceesar, Lutetia. Julian, who was pro- 
claimed emperor by his army in this city, names it Leucetia. 
6 The inhabitants of Vannes and the surrounding country. 

B. iv. c. iv. 2. GAUL. THE BELG^. 291 

ships were constructed of solid wood,) 1 but whenever their 
ships were borne near to his by the wind, the Romans rent the 
.Sails by means of scythes fixed on long handles : 2 for the sails 
[of their ships 1 are made of leather to resist the violence of 
the winds, and managed by chains instead of cables. They 
construct their vessels with broad bottoms and high pnnp* and 
prows, on account of the tides. They are built o/ thp \fooH 
of the oak, oF which there is abundance. On this account, in- 
stead of fitting the planks close together, they leave interstices 
between them ; these they fill with sea-weed to prevent the 
wood from drying up in dock for want of moisture ; for 
the sea-weed is damp by nature, but the oak dry and arid. 
In my opinion these Yeneti were the founders of the\ Yeneti 
in the Adriatic, for almost all theTother Keltic nations in Italy 
have passed over from the country beyond the Alps, as for 
instance, the Boii 3 and Senones. 4 They are said to be 
Paphlagonians merely on account of a similarity of name. 
However, I do not maintain my opinion positively ; for in 
these matters probability is quite sufficient. The Osismii are 
the people whom Pytheas calls Ostimii ; they dwell on a 
promontory which projects considerably into the ocean, but 
not so far as Pytheas and those who follow him assert. 5 As 
for the nations between the Seine and the Loire, some are 
contiguous to the Sequani, others to the Arverni. 

2. The entire race which now goes by the name of Gallic, 
or Galatic, 6 is warlike, passionate, and always ready for fi^ht- 
ing, but otherwise simple and not malicious. If irritated, 
they rush in crowds to the conflict, openly and without any 
circumspection ; and thus are easily vanquished by those who 
employ stratagem. For any one may exasperate them when, 
where, ancTunder whatever pretext he pleases ; he will al- 

Neque enira his nostrae rostro nocere poterant; tanta erat in his 
firmitudo. Caesar, lib. iii. c. 13. 

2 Vide Caesar, lib. iii. c. 14. 

3 The Boii, who passed into Italy, established themselves near to 

" * The Senones, or inhabitants of Sens, are thought to have founded 
.Sienna in Italy. 

The promontory of Calbium, the present Cape Saint-Mahe, is here 
alluded to. 

6 Gosselin observes, " These people called themselves by the name of 
Kelts ; the Greeks styled them Galatae, and the Latins Galli or Gauls." 

u 2 

292 STRABO. CASAUB. 196. 

ways find them ready for danger, with nothing to support 
them except their violence and daring. Nevertheless they 
may be easily persuaded to devote themselves to any thing 
useful, and have thus engaged both in science and letters. 
Their power consists both in the jsize of their Bodies and_alsQ 
in their numbers. Their frankness and simplicity lead them 
easily to assemble in masses, ^each one feeling indignant at 
what appears injustice to his neighbour. At the present 
time indeed they are allatpeace, being in subjection and liv- 
ing under the commancTof the Romans, who have subdued 
them ; but we have described their customs as we understand 
they existed in former times, and as they still exist amongst 
the Germans. These two nations, both by nature and in 
their form of government, are similar and related to each 
other. Their countries border on each other, bejng separ- 
ated by the^ river Rhine, and are for the most part similar. 
Germany, however, is more to the north, if we compare to- 
gether the southern and northern parts of the two countries 
respectively. Thus it is that they can so easily change their 
abode. They march in crowds in one collected army, or rather 
remove with all theirfamilies, whenever^hey are 
~a moxe~powerful force. They were subdued by the Romans 
much more easily than the Iberians ; for they began to wage 
war witli these latter first, ancT ceased last, having in the 
mean time conquered the whole of the nations situated be- 
tween the Rhine and the mountains of the Pyrenees. For 
these fighting in crowds and vast numbers, were overthrown 
in crowds, whereas the Iberians kept themselves in reserve, 
and broke up the war into a series of petty engagements, 
showing themselves in different bands, sometimes here7some- 
times there, like banditti. All the Gauls are warriors by 
nature, but they fight better onn^rsebacF''than on footT and 
tRftHowftr of f.frq Romqn qavalry is dr^wn^trom their"yyymher. 
The rnost valiant ofMihemdwell tow 
the ocean. 

3. Of these they say that theJBelgae are the bravest. They 
are divided into fifteen nations, and dwell near the ocean be- 
tween the Rhine and the Loire, and have therefore sustained 
themselves single-handed against the incursions of the Ger- 
mans, the Cimbri, 1 and the Teutons. The bravest of the 
1 The Cirnbri inhabited Denmark and the adjacent regions. 

B. iv. c. iv. 3. GAUL. MANNERS AND CUSTOMS. 293 

Belgae are the Bellovaci, 1 and after them the Suessiones. The 
amount of their population may be estimated by the fact that 
formerly there were said to be 300,000 Belgae capable of 
bearing arms. 2 The numbers of the Helvetii, the Arverni, 
andlheir allies, have already been mentioned. All this is a 
proof both of the amount of the population ["of Gaul], and, as 
before remarked, of tEe fecundity of their women, and the 
ease with which they rearjth,gir_hildren. The Gauls wear 
the_sjigum, let their hair grow, and wearjshort breeches. In- 
stead of tunicsTIiey wear a slashed garment with sleeves de- 
scending aJittle below the hips'? The wool [of their sheep]] 
is coarse, but long ; from it they weave the thick saga called 
laines. However, in the northern parts the Eomans rear 
fioclfs of sheep which they cover with skins, and which pro- 
duce very fine wool. The equipment [of the Gauls] is in 
keeping with the size of their bodies ; they have a lonp: sword 
hanging at their right_side, a long_shield, and lances in propor- 
tion, together with a madaris somewhat resembling a jave- 
lin ; some of them also use bows and slings ; they have also a 
"piece of wood resembling a pilum, which they hurl not out of 
a thong, hiit from tlipir hfl.nd ; anri to a farther distance than 
an arrow. They principally make use of it in shooting 
birds. To the present day most of them lie on the ground, 
and take their me_als_seated on straw. They subsist princi- 
pally onjnilk and ajTkmdFoQ[e*sh, especially that of swine, 
which they eat bothTfresh^and salted. Their swine live in 
the fields, ancTsurpass in height, strength, and swiftness. To 
persons unaccustomed to approach them they are almost as 
dangerous as wolves. The people dwell in great houses 
arched, constructed~of planks and wicker, and covered with a 
heavy thatcheoLroof. They have sheep and swine in such abun- 
dance, that theysupply saga and salted pork in plenty, not only 
to Rome but to most parts of Italy. Their governments were 
for the most part aristocratic ; formerly they chose a governor 
every year, and a military leader was likewise' elected by the 
multitude. 4 At the present day they are mostly under sub- 

1 The inhabitants of the Beauvoisis. 2 Vide Caesar, lib. ii. c. 4. 

8 This slashed garment is the smock frock of the English peasant 
and the blouse of the continent. 

4 Conf. Caesar, lib. vTTc. 13. Plebs pene servorum habetur loco, quae 
per se nihil audet, et nulli adhibetur consilio. 

294 STRABO. CASAUB. 197. 

jection to the Romans. They have a peculiar castQmjnJJieir 
Assemblies. If any one ma,]^s_j|n uproar or interrupts the 
person speaking, an attendant advances with a_ drawn jswprd, 
and commands him with menace to be silent ; if he persists, 
the attendant does the same thing a second and tjburd_time ; 
and finally, [if he will not obey,] cuts off from bis sagum so 
largeji piece as to render the remainder useless. The labours 
of the two sexes are distributed in a manner thejreverse~of 
what^tJaej^ are with us. but this is a common thing with 
numerous other barbarians. 

4. Amongst [the Gauls] there are generally three divisions 
of men especially reverenced, the Bards, the Vates. and the 
Druids. The Bjr^s_jc^Qmpi)sed and chanted hymns ; the 
^Vates occupied themselves with the sacrifices amT'the Jrtudy 
Q nature ; while the Druids joined to the study of nature 

that of moraLpJiJlQsopIiy^ The belief in the justice | or the 
JDruids] is so great that the decision both of public and private 
disputes is referred to them ; and they have before now, by 
their decision, prevented armies from engaging when drawn 
up in battle-array against each other. Alt' cases of murder 
are particularly referred to them. When there is plenty of 
these they imagine there will likewise be a plentiful harvest. 
Both these and the others l assert that the soul is indestructi- 
Jile, and Hkewisejthe world, but that sometimes fire and some- 
Times water haveprevailed in making great changes. 2 

5. To their simplicity and vehemence, the Gauls join much 
folly, arrogance, and love of ornament. They wear golden 
_coliars round their necks, and bracelets on their ^rms and 
wrists, and those who are of any dignity have garments 
dyed and worked with gold. This lightness of character 
makes them intolerable when they conquer, and throws them 
into consternation when worsted. In addition to their folly, 
they have a barbarous and absurd custom, common however 
with many nations of the north, of suspending the-^heads of 
their enemies from their horses' necKson their return from 
battle, aHcT when they have~arrive"cT nailing them as a spec- 
tacle to their gates. Posidonius says he witnessed this in 
many different 'places, and was^ at first shocked, but became 
familiar with it in time on account of its frequency. The 

1 By the others are probably meant the Bards and Vates. 

2 These opinions are also to be found in the Pythagorean philosophy. 

B. iv. c. iv. 6. GAUL. MANNERS AND CUSTOMS. 295 

heads of any illustrious persons they embalm with cedar, ex- 
hibit them to strangers, and would not sell them lor their 
weight in gold. 1 However, the Romans put a stop to these 
customs, as well as to their modes_of^acrifice and divination, 
which were quite opposite to those sanctioned by our laws. 
They would strike a man devoted as an offering in his back 

with a sword, and divme from his convulsive" throes. W^h- __ *^ 
out the Druids they never sacrifice. It is said they have r 
"8fner~ modes oi' sacrificing their human victims ; that they // 
pierce some of them with arrows, and crucify others in their ^u""* 
temples ; and that they prepare a colossus of hay and wood, 
into which they put cattle, beasts of all kinds,"ahd men, and 
then set fire to it. 

6. They say that in the ocean, not far from the coast, there 
is a small island lying opposite to the outlet of the river > 
Loire, inhabited by Samnite women who are Bacchantes, and f 
conciliate and appease that god by masteries and sacrifices. / / 
No man is permitted to land on the island ; and when the C7u"* 
women desire "To" have intercourse with the other sex, they 
cross the^a, and afterwards return again 1 . They have a 
custom of once a year unroofing the whole of the temple, and 
roofing it again the same day before sun-set, each one 
bringing some of the materials. If any one lets her burden 
fall, she is torn in pieces by the others, and her limbs carried 
round the temple with wild shouts, which they never cease 
until their rage is exhausted. [They say] it always happens 
that some one drops her burden, and is thus sacrificed. 

But what Artemidorus tells us concerning the crows, par- 
takes still more of fiction. He narrates that on the coast, 
washed by the ocean, there is a harbour named the Port of 
Two Crows, and that here two crows may be seen with their 
right wings white. Those who have any dispute come here, 
and eaclT one" having placed a plank for himself on a lofty 
eminence, sprinkles crumbs thereupon ; the birds fly to these, 
eat up the one and scatter the other, and he whose crumbs 
are scattered gains the cause. This narration has decidedly 
too much the air of fiction. What he narrates concerning 
Ceres and Proserpine is more credible. He says that there // 
is an island near Britain in which they perform sacrifices to kr'a 

1 These particulars are taken from Posidonius. See also Diodorus 
Siculus, lib. v. c. 29. 

296 STRABO. CASATJB. 199. 

these goddesses after the same fashion that they do in Samo- 
thrace. The following is also credible, that a tree grows" in 
Keltica similar to a fig, which produces a fruit resembling a 
Corinthian capital, and which, being cut, exudes a poison- 
ous juice which they use for poisoning their arrows. It 
is well known that all the Kelts are fond of disputes ; and 
that amongst them paederasty is not considered shameful. 
Ephorus extends the size of Keltica too far, including within 
it most of what we now designate as Iberia^ as far as Gades. 
He states that the people are great admirers of the Greeks, 
and relates many particulars concerning them not applicable 
to their present state. This is one : That they take great 
are noj to become fat or big-bellied, and that if any young 
man exceeds the measure of Ifcertain girdle, he is punished. 1 
Such is our account of Keltica beyond the Alps. 2 



1. BRITAIN is triangular in form ; its longeaL-flide lies 
parallel to Keltica, in length neither exceeding nor falling 
short oi' it ; for each of them extends as much as 4300 or 
4400 stadia : the side of Keltica extending from the mouths of 
the Rhine to the northern extremities 'of thej^cejiees to- 
wards Aquitaine ; and that of Britain, which commences at 
Kent, its most eastern point, opposite the mouths of the 
"Rhine, extending to the western extremity of thej^land, 
which lies oyeragainst Aquitaine and the Pyrenees. This is 
the shortest Imelrom the Pyrenees to the Khine ; the longest 
is said to be 5000 stadia ; but it is likely that there is some 

1 A similar custom existed amongst the Spartans ; the young people 
were obliged to present themselves from time to time before the Ephori, 
and if of the bulk thought proper for a Spartan, they were praised, if on 
the contrary they appeared too fat, they were punished. Athen. 1. xii. p. 
550. JElian, V. H. 1. xiv. c. 7. At Rome likewise it was the duty of the 
censor to see that the equites did not become too fat ; if they did, they 
were punished with the loss of their horse. Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. 1. 
vii. c. '22. 

2 Transalpine Gaul. 

B. iv. c. v. 2. BRITAIN. 297 

convergency of the river towards the mountain from a strictly 
parallel position, there being an inclination of either toward 
the other at the extremities next the ocean. 

2. There are four passages commonly used from the con- 
tinent to the island, namely, from the mouths of the rivers 
Rhine, Seine, Loire, and Garonne ; but to such as set sail 
from the parts about the Khine, the passage is not exactly 
from its mouths, but from the Morini, 1 who border on the 
Menapii, 2 among whom also is situated Itium, 3 which divus 
Caesar used as his_jiaYal station when about to pass over to 
the island : he set sail by night, and arrived the next day about 
the fourth hour, 4 having completed a passage of 320 stadia, 
and he found the corn in the _figlds. The greatest portion of 
the island is level and woody, although many tracts are hilly. 
It produces corn, cattle, gol_d, silver, andJLron, which things 
are brought Whence, and also skins, and slaves, and dogs 
sagacious in hunting ; the Kelts use these, as well as their' 
native dogs, for the purposes of war. The men are taller 

than the Kelts, with hair less yellow ; they are slighter inlEeir 
persons^ As an instance oT their height, we ourselves saw at 
Rome sqme_youths who were taller than the tallest there v 
by as much as half_ji_foot, but their legs were bowed, 
and in other respects they were not jjv^mmetrical in con- 
formation. Their manners are in^part like those of the 
Kelts, though in partjnore^smiple and barbarous ; insomuch 
that some of them, though possessing plenty of milk, have not 
skill enough to make cheese, and are totally unacquainted 
with horticulture and other matters of husbandry. There 
are sej^ral_states amongst them. In their wars they make 
use of chariots for the most part, as do some of the Kelts. 
Forests are their cities ; for having enclosed an ample space 

1 The coasts occupied by the Morini extended from la Canche to the 

2 The Menapii occupied Brabant. 

3 General opinion places the port Itius at Wissant, near Cape Grisnez ; 
Professor Airy, however, is of opinion that the portus Itius of Caesar is the 
estuary of the Somme. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of 
London, 1852, vol. ii. No. 30, p. 198. 

4 Caesar passed twice into Britain : the first time he started about mid- 
night, and arrived at the fourth hour of the day ; the second time he 
started at the commencement of the night, and did not arrive until the 
following day at noon, the wind having failed about midnight. 

298 STRABO. CASAUB. 200. 

with felled trees, they make themselves huts therein, and lodge 
their collie, though not for 'any long continuance. Their at- 
mosphere is more subject to rain than to snow ; even in their 
clear days the mist continues for a considerable time, inso- 
much that throughout the whole day the sun is only visible 
for three or four hours about noon ; and this must be the case 
also amongst the Morini, and the Menapii, and among all the 
neighbouring people. 

3. Divus Caggar twice passed over to thejsland, but quickly 
returned, having efiectecT nottimg ~5F consequence, nor pro- 
ceeded far into the country, as well on account of some com- 
motions in Keltica, both among his own soldiers and among 
the barbarians, as because of the loss of many of his ships at 
the time of the full moon, when both the ebb and flow of 
the tides were greatly" increased. * Nevertfieless " luT" gained 

although he had 

transported thither only two legions of his army, and brought 
away hostages and slaves and much other booty. At the 
present time7 lioweverT "soiaa-jQf-4he._:princes there have, by 
their embassies and solicitations, obtainedthe friendship of 
Augustus Cassar, dedicated their offerings in the Capitol, and 
brought the whole island into intimate union with the 
Romans. They pay butjnoderate duties both on the imports 
and exports from Keltica; which are ivory bracelets and 
necklaces, amber, vessels of glass, and small wares ; so that 
thlflsTand scarcely needs iTgarrison, for at the least it would 
require one legion and some cavalry to enforce tribute from 
them ; and the total expenditure for the army would be equal 
to the revenue collected ; for if a tribute were levied, of neces- 
sity the imposts must be diminished, and at the same time 
some danger would be incurred if force were to be em- 

4. There are also other small islands around Britain ; but 
one, of great extent, lerna, 2 lying parallel to it towards the 

1 The fleet consisted of J.OOQ vessels, according to Cotta. (Athen. 1. vi. 
c. 21.) The great loss sp/wcen 6f "by Strabo occurred before the first re- 
turn of Caesar into Gaul. (Csesar, 1. iv. c. 28.) As to his second return, it 
was occasioned, to use his own words, " propter repentinos Galliae 
motus." L. v. c. 22. 

2 Called by Caesar, Hibernia ; by Mela, Juverna ; and by Diodorus Sicu- 
lus, Iris. 

B. iv. c. v. 5. IRELAND. ICELAND. 

north, long, or rather, wide ; concerning which we 
further than that its inhabitan 


_more savage than _the Britons, feeding; on human flesh, ami 
pnormnna ftatp.raj and (leeming it commendable to devour their 
deceased fathers, 1 as well as openly 2 to have commerce not 
only with other women, but ajso with their own mothers and 
sistS_. 3 But this we relate perhaps without very competent 
authority ; although to eat human flesh is said to be & Scy- 
thian custom ; and during the severities of a siege, even the 
Kelts, the Iberians, and many others, are reported to have 
done the likel* 

5. The account of Tbule is still more uncertain, on account 
of its secluded situation; for they consider it to be the 
northernmost of all lands of which the names are known. 
The falsity of what Pytheas has related concerning this and 
neighbouring places, is proved by what he has asserted of well- 
known countries. For if, as we have shown, his description 
of these is in the main incorrect, what he says of far distant 
countries is still more likely to be false. 5 Nevertheless, as far 
as astronomy and the mathematics are concerned, he appears 
to have reasoned correctly, that people bordering on the frozen 

1 This custom resembles that related by Herodotus (lib. i. c. 216, 
and iv. 26) of the Massagetae and Issedoni. Amongst these latter, when 
the father of a family died, all the relatives_^sjenibled at the house of the 
deceased, and having slain certain animals, cut them and the jjody of the 
deceased into small pieces, and having mixed the morsels together, re- 
galed themselves on" the inhuman feast. 

2 Strabo intends by Qavep&e what Herodotus expresses by pi%iv 
ifi<^avea, KaQdrtep rolac 7rpo/3aroi(Ti (concubitum, sicuti pecoribits, in propa- 
tulo esse) . 

3 Herodotus, (1. iv. c. 180,) mentioning a similar practice amongst the 
inhabitants of Lake Tritonis in Libya, tells us that the men owned the 
children as_they resembled them respectively. Mela asserts the same of 
the Garamantes. As to the 'commerce Jbetween relations, Strabo in his 
16thT3ook, speaks of it as being /usuaramongst the Arabs. It was 

torn amongst the early Greeks, fi omer makes the six sons of 

"^Tuno addresses herself to Jupiter as " Et soror 

ime of . /[ 
in his lyl 
a cus- / ' v_ 


TAn extremity to which the Gauls were driven during the war they 
sustained against the Cimbri and Teutones, (Caesar, lib. vii. c. 77,) and 
the inhabitants of Numantia in Iberia, when besieged by Scipio. (Va- 
lerius Maxim us, lib. vii. c. 6.) The city of Potidaea in Greece experi- 
enced a similar calamity. (Thucyd. lib. ii. c. 70. ) 

5 Pytheas placed Thule under the 66th degree of north latitude, which 
is the latitude of the north of Iceland. 

300 STRABO. CASAUB. 201. 

zone would be destitute of cultivated fruits, and almost de- 
prived of the domestic animals ; that their food would con- 
sist of millet, herbs, fruits, and roots ; and that where there 
was corn and honey they would make drink of these. That 
, tEey would thresh their corn ? "and store 

it in vast_granaries, threshing-iloors being useless on account 
oftEeTrain and want ol' sun. 



1. HAVING described Keltica beyond the Alps, 1 and the 
nations who inhabit the country, we must now speak of the 
Alps themselves and their inhabitants, and afterwards of the 
whole of Italy ; observing in our description such arrange- 
ment as the nature of the country shall point out. 

The Alps do not commence at Monoeci Portus, 2 as some have 
asserted, but from the region whence the Apennines take 
their rise about Genoa, a mercantile city of the Ligurians, 
and at the marshes named Sabatorum Vada ; 3 for the Apen- 
nines take their rise near Genoa, and the Alps near Saba- 
torum Vada. The distance between Genoa and the Saba- 
torum Vada is about 260 stadia. About 370 stadia farther 
on is the little city of Albingaunum, 4 inhabited by Ligurians 
who are called Ingauni. From thence to the Monceci Portus is 
480 stadia. In the interval between is the very considerable 
city of Albium Intemelium, 5 inhabited by the Intemelii. These 
names are sufficient to prove that the Alps commence at the 
Sabbatorum Vada. For the Alps were formerly called Albia 
and Alpionia, 6 and at the present day the high mountain in the 
country of the lapodes, 7 next to Ocra and the Alps, is named 
Albius, showing that the Alps extend so far. 

t * Transalpine Gaul. 2 Port Monaco. 3 Vadi. 4 Albinga. 

5 Vintimille. 

6 Kramer conjectures that instead of 'A\7ri6via, we should read 

7 These people occupied the borders of the province of Murlaka, near 
to Istria, on the Gulf of Venice. Mount Albius is still called Alben. 

B. iv. c. vi. 2, 3. THE ALPS. 301 

2. Now since the Ligurians were divided into Ingauni 
and Interaelii, it was natural that their maritime colonies 
should be distinguished, one by the name of Albium Inteme- 
lium, Alpine as it were, and the other by the more concise 
form Albingaunum. 1 To these two tribes of Ligurians already 
mentioned, Polybius adds those of the Oxybii and Deciates. 2 
The whole coast from Monceci Portus to Tyrrhenia is 
continuous, and without harbours excepting some small 
roads and anchorages. Above it rise the rugged precipices of 
the Alpine range, leaving but a narrow passage along the 
sea. This district, but particularly the mountains, is inhabited 
by Ligurians, principally subsisting on the produce of their 
herds, and milk, and a drink made of barley. There is plenty 
of wood here for the construction of ships ; the trees grow to 
a vast jize, some of them Kavlng been found eight feet in 
diameter. Much of the wood is veined, and not inferior to 
cedar-wood for cabinet work. This wood, together with the 
produce of their cattle, hides, and jioney, they transport to 
the mart of Genoa, receiving in exchange for them the oil 
and wine of Italy ; for the little [wine] which their country 
produces is harsh and tastes of pitch. Here are bred the 
horses and mules known as ginni, and here too are wrought 
the Ligurian tunics and saga. In their country likewise there 
is plenty of lingurium, called by some electrum. 3 They use 
but few cavalry in war ; their infantry arejgood. and excellent 
slingers. Some have thought that their brazen shields prove 
these people to be_of^Grecian origin. 

'6. The Mono3ci Portus is merely a roadstead, not capable 
of containing either many or large vessels. Here is a temple 
dedicated to Hercules Monrocus. 4 The name seems to show 
it probable that the Massilian voyages along the coast ex- 
tended as far as here. Monoeci Portus is distant from Anti- 
polis rather more than 200 stadia. The Salyes occupy the 
region from thence to Marseilles, or a little farther; they 

1 Casaubon observes that the Roman writers separated the name 
Albium Ingaunum, in the same manner as Albium Intemelium. 

2 These two tribes inhabited the country round Frejus and Antibes as 
far as the Var. 3 Or amber. 

4 MOVOIKOC, an epithet of Hercules signifying " sole inhabitant." Ac- 
cording to Servius, either because after he had driven out the Ligurians 
he remained the sole inhabitant of the country ; or because it was not 
usual to associate any other divinities in the temples consecrated to him. 

302 STRABO. CASAUB. 205. 

inhabit the Alps which lie above that city, and a portion of 
the sea-coast, where they intermingle with the Greeks. The 
ancient Greeks gave to the Salyes the name of Ligyes, 1 and to 
the country which was in the possession of the Marseillese, 
that of Ligystica. 2 The later Greeks named them Kelto- 
Ligyes, 3 and assigned to them the whole, of the plains extend- 
ing as far as Luerion 4 and the Rhone. They arediyided 
intotejacantons, and are capable of raising troops not only of 
mlantry, Tmt of/cayalry also. [These people were the first of 
the Transalpine Kelts whom the Romans subdued after main- 
taining a lengthened war against' them and the Ligurians. 
They closed [against the Romans] all the roads into Iberia 
along the sea-coast, and carried on a system of pillage both 
by sea and land. Their strength so increased that large 
armies were scarcely able to force a passage. And after a 
jvar of eighty years, the Romans were hardly able to obtain 
a breadth of twelve "stadia for the purpose of making a public 
road. After this, however, the Rwnaiis^^iitid.ued the whole of 
them, and established among them a regular form of govern- 
ment, and imposed a tribute. 5 

4. After trie Salyes, the Albienses, the Albio3ci, 6 and the 
Vocontii inhabit the northern portion of the mountains. 
The Vocontii extend as far as the Allobriges, and occupy 
vast valleys in the depths of the mountains, not inferior to 
those inhabited by the Allobriges. Both the Allobriges and 
Ligurians are subject to the pretors sent into the Narbonnaise, 
but the Vocontii are governed by their own laws, as we have 
1 1 said of the Volca3 of Nemausus. 7 Of the Ligurians between 
- v the Var and Genoa, those along the sea are considered Italians ; 
while the mountaineers are governed_bv a prefect of the 
eq uestrijmprder, as is the case in regard to other nations 
wholly Barbarous. 

1 At'yu, or Ligurians. 2 AiyvGTiKrj, or Liguria. 

3 Ke\roXiyu, or Kelto-Ligurians. 

4 Kramer is of opinion that we should adopt the suggestion of Man- 
nert, to read here Avignon. 

a We have adopted the reading of the older editions, which is also that 
of the French translation. Kramer however reads Qoflov, and adds $6pov 
in a note. 

6 The Albioeci are named Albici in Caesar ; the capital city is called by 
Pliny Alebece Reiorum ; it is now Riez in Provence. 

J Nimes. 

B. iv. c. vi. o, 6. THE ALPS. 303 

5. After the Vocontii, are the Iconii, the Tricorii, and the 
Medulli ; .who inhabit the loftiesFridges of the mountains, 
foTlhey say that some of them have on almost perpendicular 
ascent of 100 stadia, and a similar descent to the frontiers 
of Italy. In these high-lands there is a grat_lake; there 
are also two springs not far distant from each other ; one 
of these gives rise to the Durance, which flows like a 
torrent into the Rhone, and to the Durias, 1 which flows in 
an opposite direction ; for it mingles with the , Fo after 
having pursued its course through the country of the Sa- 
lassi 2 into Cisalpine Keltica. From the other source, but 
much lower down, rises the __{L_itgelf, large and rapid, 
which as it advances becomes still vaster, and at the same 
time more gentle. As it reaches the plains it increases in 
breadth, being augmented by numerous [other rivers], and 
thus it becomes less impetuous in its course, and its current 
is weakened. Haying become the largest river in Europe. 
with the exception ot 'the i)anube,^it discharges itself into the 
Adriatic Sea. The Medullilire situated considerably above 
the confluence of the Isere and the Rhone. 

6. On the opposite_side of the mountains, sloping towards 
JItaly, dwell the Jaurini, 4 a Liguriah nation, together with 
certain other Ligurians. What is called the land of Ideon- 
nus 5 and Cottius belongs to these Ligurians. Beyond them 
and the Po are the Salassi ; above whom in the summits [of the 
Alps] are the Kentrones, the Catoriges, the Veragri, the 
Nantuatse, 6 Lake Leman, 7 traversed by the Rhone, and the 

1 There are two rivers of this name which descend from the Alps and 
discharge themselves into the Po. The Durias which rises near the 
Durance is the Durias minor of the ancients, and the Doria Riparia of 
the moderns ; this river falls into the Po at Turin. 

2 Gosselin observes : The Salassi occupied the country about Aouste, 
or Aoste. The name of this city is a corruption of Augusta Praetoria 
Salassorum, which it received in the time of Augustus. The Durias 
which passes by Aouste is the Durias major, the modern Doria Baltea. 
Its sources are between the Great Saint Bernard and Mont Blanc. 

3 The Ister of the classics. 

4 Augusta Taurinorum, hodie Turin, was the capital of these people. 

5 Various conjectures have been hazarded concerning this name, of 
which there appears to be no other mention. 

6 The Kentrones occupied la Tarentaise ; the Catoriges, the territories 
of Chorges and Embrun ; the Veragri, a part of the Valais south of the 
Rhone ; and the Nantuatse, Le Chablais. 

7 The Lake of Geneva. 

304 STRABO. CASAUB. 204. 

sources of that river. Not far from these are the sources of 
the Rhine, and Mount Adulas, 1 from whence the Rhine flows 
towards the north; likewise the Adda, 2 which flows in an 
opposite direction, and discharges itself into Lake Larius, 3 
near to Como. Lying above Como, which is situated at the 
roots of the Alps, on one side are the Rhoeti and Vennones 
towards the east, 4 and on the other the Lepontii, the Triden- 
tini, the Stoni, 5 and numerous other small nations, poor and 
addicted to robbery, who in former times possessed Italy. 
At the present time some of them have been destroyed, and 
the others at length civilized, so that the passes over the 
mountains through their territories, which were formerly few 
and difficult, now run in every direction, secure from any 
danger of these people, and as accessible as art can make them. 
For Augustus Caesar not only destroyed the robbers, but im- 
proved the character of the roads as far as practicable, although 
he could not every where overcome nature, on account of the 
rocks and immense precipices ; some of which tower above 
the road, while others yawn beneath ; so that departing ever 
so little [from the path], the traveller is in inevitable danger 
of falling down bottomless chasms. In some places the road 
is so narrow as to make both the foot traveller and his beasts 
of burden, who are unaccustomed to it, dizzy ; but the animals 
of the district will carry their burdens quite securely. These 
things however are beyond remedy, as well as the violent 
descent of vast masses of congealed snow from above, capable 
of overwhelming a whole company at a time, and sweeping 
them into the chasms beneath. Numerous masses lie one upon 
the other, one hill of congealed snow being formed upon ano- 
ther, so that the uppermost mass is easily detached at any time 
from that below it, before being perfectly melted by the sun. 
7. A great part of the country of the Salassi lies in a deep 
valley, formed by a chain of mountains which encloses the 
district on either side ; a part of them however inhabit the 

1 Saint Gotharcl. 

2 The Adda does not flow from the same mountain as the Rhine. 

3 The Lake of Como. 

4 The Rhoeti are the Grisons ; the Vennones, the people of the Val 

5 The Lepontii inhabited the Haul Valais, and the valley of Leven- 
tina ; the Trideritini occupied Trente ; the Stoni, Steneco. 

6 The valley of Aouste. 

B. iv. c. vi. 7. THE ALPS. 30 

overhanging ridges. The route of those who are desirous of 
passing from Italy over these mountains, lies through the 
aforesaid valley. Beyond this the road separates into two. 
The one which passes through the mountain peaks, known as 
the Pennine Alps, cannot be traversed by carriages ; the 
other, which runs through the country of the Centrbnes, lies 
more to the west. 1 The country of the Salassi contains gold 
mines, of which formerly, in the days of their power, they 
were masters, as well as of the passes. The river Doria 
Baltea 2 afforded them great facility in obtaining the metal by 
[supplying them with water] for washing the gold, and they 
have emptied the main bed by the Numerous trenches cut for 
drawing the water to different places. This operation, though 
advantageous in gold hunting, wasjniuripus to the a^ricultur- 
ists below, as it deprived them of the irrigation 01 a river, 
which, by the height of its position, was capable of watering 
their plains. This gave rise to frequent wars between the 
two nations ; when the Romans gained the dominion, the 
Salassi lost bnth thpirjyold works and their country, but as 
tTiey still possessed the mountains, they continued to sell 
water to the public contractors of the gold mines ; with whom 
there were continual disputes on account of the avarice of the 
contractors, and thus the Roman generals sent into the coun- 
try were ever able to find a pretext for commencing war. 
And, until very recently, the Salassi at one time waging war 
against the Romans, and at another making peace, took occa- 
sion to inflict numerous damages upon those who crossed over 
their mountains, by their system of plundering ; and even 
exacted from Decimus Brutus, on his flight from Mutina, 3 a 
drachm per man. Messala, likewise, having taken up his 
winter quarters in their vicinity, was obliged to pay them, 
both for his fire-wood, and for the elm-wood for making jave- 
lins for the exercise of his troops. In one instance they 
plundered the treasures of Caesar, 4 and rolled down huge 

1 These two routes still exist. The former passes by the Great Saint 
Bernard, or the Pennine Alps ; the latter traverses the Little Saint Ber- 
nard, and descends into La Tarentaise, formerly occupied by the Cen- 

2 Anciently Durias. 3 Modena. 

4 It does not appear that Julius Caesar is hero intended, for he mentions 
nothing of it in his Commentaries. It seems more probable that Strabo used 


[ock upon the soldiers under pretence of making 
>uilding bridges over the rivers. Afterwards 
)nrpletely overthrew them, and carried them to 
Roman colony which had been planted as a 
bulwark against the Salassi, although the inhabitants were 
able to do but little against them until the nation was destroy- 
ed ; their numbers amounted to 36,000 persons, besides 8000 
men capable of bearing arms. Terentius Varro, the general 
who defeated them, sold them all by public auction, as enemies 
taken in war. Three thousand Romans sent out by Augustus 
founded the city of Augusta, 2 on the spot where Varro had 
encamped, and now the whole surrounding country, even to 
the summits of the mountains, is at peace. 

8. Beyond, both the eastern parts of the mountains, and 
those likewise inclining to the south, are possessed by the 
Rhseti and Vindelici, who adjoin the Helvetii and Boii, and 
press upon their plains. The Rhsetj extend as far as Italy 
above Verona and Como. The Rhastian wine, which is 
esteemedTnbt inferior to the finest wines of Italy, is produced 
[from vines which grow] at the Toot of the mountains. These 
people extend also as far as the districts through which the 
Rjiirijg, flows. The Lepontii and Camuni are of their nation. 
The Vindelici and Norici possess, for the most part, the 
opposite side of the mountains together with the Breuni and 
Genauni, who form part of the Illyrians. 3 All these people 
were continually making incursions both into the neighbour- 
ing parts of Italy, and into [the countries] of the Helvetii, 

the expression of Ceesar in its wider sense of Emperor, and alludes to 
Augustus, of whom he speaks immediately after. 

1 Ivrea. 2 Aouste. 

3 The limits of these barbarous nations were continually varying ac- 
cording to their success in war, in general, however, the Rhaeti possessed 
the country of the Grisons, the Tyrol, and the district about Trent. 
The Lepontii possessed the Val Leventina. The Camuni the Val 
Camonica. The Vindelici occupied a portion of Bavaria and Suabia; 
on their west were the Helvetii or Swiss, and on the north the Boii, from 
whom they were separated by the Danube ; these last people have left 
their name to Bohemia. The Norici possessed Styria, Carinthia, a part of 
Austria and Bavaria to the south of the Danube. The Breuni have given 
their name to the Val Braunia north of the Lago Maggiore ; and the 
Genauni appear to have inhabited the Val Agno, between Lake Maggiore 
and the Lake of Como, although Strabo seems to place these people on 
the northern side of the Alps, towards the confines of Illyria. 

H. iv. c. vi. 9. THE ALPS. 307 

the Sequani, 1 the Boii, and the Germans. 2 But the Licattii, 
the Clautinatii, and the Vennones 3 proved the boldest amongst 
the Vindelici ; and the Eucantii and Cotuantii amongst the 
Rhaeti. Both the Estiones and Brigantii belong to the 
Vindelici ; their cities are Brigantium, Campodunum, and 
Damasia, which may be looked upon as the Acropolis of the 
Licattii. It is narrated, as an instance of the extreme brutality 
of these robbers towards the people of Italy, that when they 
have taken any village or city, they not only puMojiualtLall 
the men capable of bearing arms, but likewise all the male 
children, and do not even stop here, but murder every preg- 
nanT woman who, their diviners say, will bring forth a male 

9. After these come certain of the Norici, and the Garni, 
who inhabit the country about the Adriatic Gulf and Aqui- 
leia. The Taurisci belong to the Norici. Tiberius and his 
brother Drusus in one summer put a stop to their lawless in- 
cursions, so that now for three and thirty years 5 they have 
lived quietly and paid their tribute regularly. Throughout 
the whole region of the Alps there are hilly districts capable 
of excellent cultivation, and well situated valleys ; but the 
greater part, especially the summits of the mountains inhabited 
by the robbers, are barren and unfruitful, both on account of 
the frost and the ruggedness of the land. On account of the 
want of food and other necessaries the mountaineers have 
sometimes been obliged to spare the inhabitants of the plains, 
that they might have some people to supply them ; for these 
they have given them in exchange, resin, pitch, torches, 

1 The people of Tranche Comte. 

2 The Germans of Wirtemberg and Suabia. 

3 The Licattii appear to have inhabited the country about the Lech, 
and the Clautinatii that about the Inn ; the Vennones the Val Telline. 

4 This disgusting brutality however is no more barbarous than the in- 
tention put by Homer into the mouth of Agamemnon, " the king of men," 
which Scholiasts have in vain endeavoured to soften or excuse 

TU>V fJLJ]TlQ VTIlKtyvyOl aiTTVV O\f9()OV, 
X7pa 0' T)fl(TSp(lQ- fJLTjd' OVTLVtt ydffTtpl fi^T^f) 

Kovpov iovra 0lpoi, /17/cT 0uyof d\\' ufta iravrtg 
'iXtov ia7roXoiar', aicf]Sf.ffToi /cat dtyavroi. 

Iliad vi. 5760. 

5 This expedition of Tiberius took place in the eleventh year of the 
Christian era; Strabo therefore must have written his fourth book in the 
44th year. 

x 2 

308 STRABO. 

CASATJB. 207. 

wax, cheese, and honey, of which they have plenty. In the 
Mount Apennine * which lies above the Garni there is a lake 
which runs out into the Isar, which river, after receiving 
another river, the Aude, 2 discharges itself into the Adriatic. 
From this lake there is also another river, the Atesinus, which 
flows into the Danube. 3 The Danube itself rises in the 
mountains which are split into many branches and numerous 
summits. For from Liguria to here the summits of the Alps 
stretch along continuously, presenting the appearance of one 
mountain ; but after this they rise and fall in turns, forming 
numerous ridges and peaks. The first of these is beyond the 
Rhine and the lake 4 inclining towards the east, its ridge 
moderately elevated ; here are the sources of the Danube 
near to the Suevi and the forest of Hercynia. 5 The other 
branches extend towards Illyria and the Adriatic, such are 
the Mount Apennine, already mentioned, Tullum and Phli- 
gadia, 6 the mountains lying above the Vindelici from whence 
proceed the Duras, 7 the Clanis, 8 and many other rivers which 
discharge themselves like torrents into the current of the 

. ^ 10. Near to these regions dwell the lapodes, (a nation now 

r? Vmixed with the Illyrians, and Kelts,) close to them is [the 

n Mount] Ocra. 9 Formerly the lapodes were numerous, in- 

habiting either side of the mountain, and were notorious for 

their predatory habits, but they have been entirely reduced 

and brought to subjection by Augustus Caspar. Their cities are 

1 The Carnic, or Julian Alps, is intended. 2 "Ara. 

3 There is, remarks Gosselin, a palpable mistake in this passage. We 
neither know of a river named the Isar nor yet the Atax discharging 
themselves into the Adriatic. Atesinus or Athesis are the ancient names 
of the Adige, but this river flows into the Adriatic, and not, as Strabo 
seems to say, into the Danube. The error of the text appears to result 
from a transposition of the two names made by the copyists, and to ren- 
der it intelligible we should read thus : " There is a lake from which pro- 
ceeds-, the Atesinus, (or the Adige,) and which, after having received the 
Atax, (perhaps the Eisach, or Aicha, which flows by Bolzano,) discharges 
itself into the Adriatic. The Isar proceeds from the same lake, and 
[passing by Munich] discharges itself into the Danube." 

4 Apparently the lake of Constance. 5 The Black Forest. 

6 These two chains are in Murlaka, they are now named Telez ana 

7 The Traun or Wiirm. 8 The Glan in Bavaria. 
9 The Julian Alps, and Birnbaumerwald. "~ 

B. iv. c. vi. $ 11. THE ALPS. 309 

Metulum, 1 Arupenum, 2 Monetium, 3 and Vendon. 4 After these 
is the city of Segesta, 5 [situated] in a plain. Near to it 
flows the river Save, 6 which discharges itself into the Danube. 
This city lies in an advantageous position for carrying on war 
against the Dacians. 7 Ocra forms the lowest portion of the Alps, 
where they approach the territory of the Carni, and through 
which they convey the merchandise of Aquileia in waggons to 
Pamportus. 8 This route is not more than 400 stadia. From 
thence they convey it by the rivers as far as the Danube and 
surrounding districts, for a navigable river 9 which flows out of 
Illyria, passes by Pamportus, and discharges itself into the Save, 
so that the merchandise may easily be carried down both to 
Segesta, and to the Pannonians, and Taurisci. 10 , It is near 
this city, 11 that the Kulp 12 falls into the Save. Both of these 
rivers are navigable, and flow down from the Alps. The 
Alps contain wild horses and cattle, and Polybius asserts that 
an animal of a singular form is found there ; it resembles a 
stag except in the neck and hair, which are similar to those 
6T~a wild boar ; under its chin it has a .tuft of hair about a 
span long, and the thickness of the tail of a young horse. 13 

11. One of the passages over the mountains from Italy into 
Transalpine and northern Keltica is that which passes through 
the country of the Salassi, and leads to Lugdunum. 14 Jliis / 
[route] is divided into two ways, one practicable for carriages, 
but longer, which crosses the country of the Centrones, the 
other steep and narrow, but shorter ; this crosses the Pennine 
[Alps]. Lugdunum is situated in the midst of the country, 
serving as an Acropolis, both on account of the confluence of 

1 Probably M (idling. 

2 Auersperg, "oFthe Flecken Mungava. 3 Mottnig or Mansburg. 
4 Windisch Gr'atz, or Brindjel. 5 Now Sisseck. 

6 The text reads Rhine,T)ut we have, in common with Gosselin, follow- 
ed the correction of Cluvier, Xylander, and Tyrwhitt. 

7 The Dacians occupied a part of Hungary, Transylvania, Wallachia, 
and a portion of Moldavia. 

8 Coray suggests Nauportus, now Ober-Laibach in Krain. This sug- 
gestion is extremely probable, however Pamportus occurs twice in the 

9 The river Laibach. 

10 The Pannonians occupied a portion of Austria and Hungary. The 
Taurisci, who formed part of the former people, inhabited Styria. 

11 Segesta. 12 The ancient Colapis. 

? This is a description of the elk (cervus alces of Linn.). This animal 
no longer exists either in France or in the Alps. M Lyons. 

310 STRABO. CASAUB. 208. 

the rivers, and of its being equally near to all parts. It was 
on this account that Agrippa cut all the_ roads from this [as 
a Centre 1 one running through the mountains of the Ce- 
vennes to the Santones l and Aquitaine, 2 another towards the 
Jlhine ; a third towards the ocean by the country of the 
jSelTovaci 3 and Ambiani, 4 and aTourth towards the Narbon- 
naise and the coast of Marseilles. 5 The traveller, also, leaving 
Lugdunum and the country above on his left, may pass over 
the Pennine Alps themselves, the Rhone, or Lake Leman, into 
the plains of the Hely^tii, whence there is a passage through 
MounTTlura into the country of the Sequani, and Lingones ; 
here the road separates into two routes, one running to the 
Rhine, and the other G to the ocean. 

12. Polybius tells us that in his time the gold mines were 
so rich about Aquileia, but particularly in the countries of 
the Taurisci Norici, that if you dug but two feet below the 
surface you found gold, and that the diggings [generally] were 
not deeper than fifteen feet. In some instances the gold was 
found pure in lumps about the size of a bean or lupin, and 
which diminished in the fire only about one eighth ; and in 
others, though requiring more fusion, was still very profitable. 
Certain Italians 7 aiding the barbarians in working [the 
mines], in the space of two months the value of gold was 
diminished throughout the whole of Italy by one third. The 
Taurisci on discovering this drove out their fellow-labourers, 
and only sold the gold themselves. Now, however, the 
Romans possess all the gold mines. Here, too, as well as in 
Iberia, the rivers yield gold-dust as well as the diggings, 

1 La Saintonge. 2 Gascony. 3 Beauvoisis. 

4 Picardie. 

5 From Lyons this route passed by Vienne, Valence, Orange, and 
Avignon; here it separated, leading on one side to Tarascon, Nitnes, 
Beziers, and Narbonne, and on the other to Aries, Aix, Marseilles, Fr6- 
jus, Antibes, &c. 

6 This other route, says Gosselin, starting from Aouste, traversed the 
Great Saint Bernard, Valais, the Rhone, a portion of the Vaud, Mount 
Jura, and so to Besancon and Langres, where it separated, the road to the 
right passing, by Toul, Metz, and Trfeves, approached the Rhine at May- 
ence ; while that to the left passed by Troies, Chalons, Rheims, and 
Bavai, where it again separated and conducted by various points to the 

7 The Italians also went into Spain, and there engaged in working 
the mines. Vide Diodorus Siculus, lib. v. c. 36, 38. 

B. iv. c. vi. 12. THE ALPS. 31 1 

though not in such large quantities. The same writer, speak- 
ing of the extent and height of the Alps, compares with them 
the largest mountains of Greece, such asTaygetum, 1 Lycaeum, 2 
Parnassus, 3 Olympus, 4 Pelion, 5 Ossa, 6 and of Thrace, as 
the Hoemus, Rhodope, and Dunax, saying that an active 
person might almost ascend any of these in a single day, 
and go round them in the same time, whereas five days 
would not be sufficient to ascend the Alps, while their length 
along the plains extends 2200 stadia. 7 He only names four 
passes over the mountains, one through Liguria close to the 
Tyrrhenian Sea, 8 a second through the country of the Taurini, 9 
by which Hannibal passed, a third through the country 
of the Salassi, 10 and a fourth through that of the Rhreti, 11 all 
of them precipitous. In these mountains, he says, there are 
numerous lakes ; three large ones, the first of which is Bena- 
cus, 12 500 stadia in length and 130 in breadth, the river 
Mincio flows from it. The second is the Verbanus, 13 400 
stadia [in length], and in breadth smaller than the preceding ; 

1 A mountain of Laconia. 

3 In Arcadia, some suppose it to be the modern Tetragi, others Dia- 
phorti, and others Mintha. 3 In Phocis, lapara, or Liokura. 

4 Olympus is a mountain range of Thessaly, bordering on Macedonia, 
its summit is thirty miles north of Larissa, in lat. 40o 4' 32" N., long. 
22o 25' E. Its estimated height is 9745 feet. 

5 Petras or Zagora. 

6 Now Kissovo ; it is situated to the east of the river Peneus, imme- 
diately north of Mount Pelion, and bounds the celebrated vale of Tempe 
on one side. 

7 Gosselin observes, both Polybius and Strabo extended the Alps from 
the neighbourhood of Marseilles to beyond the Adriatic Gulf, a distance 
twice 2200 stadia. It appears probable from the words of Polybius 
himself, (lib. ii. c. 14,) that he merely intended to state the length of 
the plains situated at the foot of the mountains, which bound Italy on 
the north ; and in fact the distance in a right line from the foot of the 
Alps about Rivoli or Pignerol to Rovigo, and the marshes formed at the 
mouths of the Adige and Po, is 63 leagues, or 2200 stadia of 700 to a 

8 This route passes from Tortona, by Vadi, Albinga, Vintimille, and 
Monaco, where it crosses the maritime Alps, and thence to Nice, Antibes, 
&c. Gosselin. 

9 This route passes by Brian^on, Mont Genevre, the Col de Sestri^re, 
and the Val Progelas. " 10 The passage by the Val Aouste. 

" This route, starting from Milan, passed east of the lake of Como by 
Coire, and then by Bregentz to the Lake of Constance. 
ia The Lago di Garda. 13 Lago Maggiore. 

312 STRABO. CASATJB. 209. 

the great river Ticino l flows from this [lake]. The third 
is the Larius, 2 its length is nearly 300 stadia, and its breadth 
30, the river Adda flows from it. All these rivers flow 
into the Po. This is what we have to say concerning the 
Alpine mountains. 

1 Ticinus. We have followed the example of the French translators 
in making the Ticino to flow from the Lago Maggiore, and the Adda 
from the Lake of Como ; by some inexplicable process the text of Strabo 
has been corrupted and these rivers transposed. Kramer notices the 
inconsistency of the text. 

2 The Lake of Como. 



The Fifth Book contains a description of Italy from the roots of the Alps to 
the Strait of Sicily, the Gulf of Taranto, and the region about Posidonium ; 
likewise of Venetia, Liguria, Agro Piceno, Tuscany, Rome, Campania, 
Lucania, Apulia, and the islands lying in the sea between Genoa and 


1 . AT the foot of the Alps commences the region now known 
as Italy. The ancients by Italy merely understood (Enotria, 
which reached from the Strait of Sicily to the Gulf of Taranto, 
and the region about Posidonium, 1 but the name has extended 
eyen to the foot of the Alps ; comprehending on one side that 
portion of T^Tguria situated by the sea, from the confines of 
Tyrrhenia to the Var ; and on the other, that portion of Istria 
which extends as far as Pola. It seems probable that the 
first inhabitants were named Italians, and, being successful, 
they communicated their name to the neighbouring tribes, 
and this propagation [of name] continued until the Romans 
obtained dominion. Afterwards, when the Romans conferred 
on the Italians the privileges of equal citizenship, and thought 
fit to extend the same honour to the Cisalpine Galatas and 
Heneti, 2 they comprised the whole under the general denomin- 
ation of Italians and Romans ; they likewise founded amongst 
them numerous colonies, some earlier, some later, of which it 
would be difficult to say which are the most considerable. 

2. It is not easy to describe the whole of Italy under* any 
one geometrical figure ; although some say that it is a pro- 
montory of triangular form, extending towards the south and 
winter rising, with its apex towards the Strait of Sicily, and 

1 The Gulf of Salerno. 2 Venetians. 

314 STRABO. CASAUB. 210. 

its base formed by the Alps [No one can allow this 

definition either for the base or one of the sides,] although it 
is correct for the other side which terminates at the Strait, 
and is washed by the Tyrrhenian Sea. But a triangle, pro- 
perly so called, is a rectilinear figure, whereas in this instance 
both the base and the sides are curved. So that, if I agree, I 
must add that the base and the sides are of a curved figure, 
and it must be conceded to me that the eastern side deviates, 
as well ; otherwise they have not been sufficiently exact in 
describing as one side that which extends from the head of 
the Adriatic to the Strait [of Sicily]. For we designate as a 
side a line without any angle ; now a line without any angle 
is one which does not incline to either side, or but very little ; 
whereas the line from Ariminum 1 to the lapygian promon- 
tory, 2 and that from the Strait [of Sicily] to the same pro- 
montory, incline very considerably. The same I consider to 
be the case with regard to the lines drawn from the head of 
the Adriatic and lapygia, for meeting about the neighbour- 
hood of Ariminum and Ravenna, they form an angle, or if not 
an angle, at least a strongly defined curve. Consequently, if the 
coast from the head [of the Adriatic] to lapygia be con- 
sidered as one side, it cannot be described as a right line ; 
neither can the remainder of the line from hence to the Strait 
[of Sicily], though it may be considered another side, be said 
to form a right line. Thus the figure [of Italy] may be said 
to be rather quadrilateral than trilateral, and can never with- 
out impropriety be called a triangle. It is better to confess 
that you cannot define exactly ungeometrical figures. 

3. [Italy], however, may be described in the following man- 
ner. The roots of the Alps are curved, and in the form of a 
gulf, the head turned towards Italy ; the middle of the gulf 
in the country of the Salassi, and its extremities turned, the 
one towards Ocra and the head of the Adriatic, the other 
towards the coast of Liguria as far as Genoa, a mercantile 
city of the Ligurians, where the Apennines fall in with the 
Alps. Immediately under [the Alps] there is a considerable 
plain, of about an equal extent of 2100 stadia both in breadth 
and length ; its southern side is closed by the coast of the 
Heneti 3 and the Apennines, which extend to Ariminum and 

1 Rimini. 2 Capo cli Leuca. 3 Venetians. 

B. v. c. i. 3. ITALY. 315 

Ancona ; for these mountains, commencing at Liguria, enter 
Tyrrhenia, leaving but a narrow sea-coast ; they afterwards 
retire by degrees into the interior, and having reached the 
territory of Pisa, turn towards the east in the direction of 
the Adriatic as far as the country about Ariminum and 
Ancona, where they approach the sea-coast of the Heneti at 
right angles. Cisalpine Keltica is enclosed within these 
limits, and the length ot the coast joined^to that of the moun- 
tains is 6300 stadia ; its breadth rather less than 2000. The 
remainder of Italy is long and narrow, and terminates in two 
promontories, one 1 extending to the Strait of Sicily, the other 2 
to lapygia. It is embraced on one side by the Adriatic, 3 on 
the other by the Tyrrhenian Sea. 4 The form and size of the 
Adriatic resembles that portion of Italy bounded by the 
Apennines and the two seas, and extending as far as lapygia 
and the isthmus which separates the Gulf of Taranto from 
that of Posidonium. 5 The greatest breadth of both is about 
1300 stadia, and the length not much less than 6000. The 
remainder of the country is possessed by the Bruttii, and cer- 
tain of the Leucani. Polybius tells us, that traversing the 
sea-coast on foot from lapygia 6 to the Strait [of Sicily] there 
are 3000 stadia, the coast being washed by the Sea of Sicily ; 
but that going by water it is 500 stadia less. The Apen- 
nines, after approaching the country about Ariminum and 
Ancona, and determining the breadth of Italy at this point 
from sea to sea, change their direction and divide the whole 
country throughout its length. As far as the Peucetii and 
Leucani they do not recede much from the Adriatic, but on 
arriving at the Leucani they decline considerably towards 
the other sea, 7 and traversing the remainder of the distance 
through the Leucani and Bruttii, terminate at Leucopetra, 8 
in Reggio. Such is a general description of the whole of 
present Italy. We will now endeavour to undertake a de- 
scription of its various parts. And, first, of those situated 
below the Alps. 

1 The peninsula occupied by the people named Brettii, or Bruttii. 

2 The peninsula now designated Terra di Lecce, and called by the 
ancients sometimes lapygia, at others Messapia, Calabria, and Salentina. 
The isthmus of this peninsula was supposed to be formed by a line drawn 
from Brindisi to Taranto. 3 The Gulf of Venice. 

4 The Sea of Tuscany. * The Gulf of Salerno. 

8 Capo di Leuca. J The Mediterranean. 8 Capo dell' Armi. 

316 STRABO. CASAUB. 212. 

4. This is a superb plain variegated with fruitful hills. 
The Po divides it almost through its midst, one side being 
denominated Cispadana, and the other Transpadana. Cispa- 
dana comprehends that part next the Apennines and Liguria, 

jand Transpadana the reTnamcTer^ The" former [division] is 
inhabited by Ligurian and Keltic nations, the former inhabit- 
ing the mountains and thelatter the plains ; and the latter 
[division] by Kelts and Heneti. These Kelts are of the 

.ce as the Transalpjne^elts. Concerning the Heneti 

ere are two'traditions, some saying that they are a 'colony 
of those Kelts of the same name who dwell by the ocean. 1 
Others *ay that they are descended from the Veneti of Paph- 
lagonia, who took refuge here with Antenor after the Trojan 
war"; and they give as a proof of this the attention these peo- 
ple* bestow on rearing horses ; which, though now entirely 
abandoned, was formerly in great esteem among them, result- 
ing from the ancient rage for breeding mules, which Homer 
thus mentions : 

" From the Eneti for forest mules renowned." 2 

It was here that Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily, kept his stud 
of race-horses. And, in consequence, the Henetian horses were 
much esteemed in Greece, and their breed in great repute for 
a long period. 

5. The whole of this country 3 is full of rivers and marshes, 
especially the district of the Heneti, which likewise experi- 
ences the tides of the_ sea. This is almost the only part of 
our sea 4 which is influenced in the samejnanner as the ocean, 
and, like it, has ebb and flood tides. In consequence most of 
the plain is covered with lagoons. 5 The inhabitants have dug 
canals and dikes, after the manner of Lower Egypt, so that 
part of the country is drained and cultivated, and the rest is 
navigable. Some of their cities stand in the midst of water 
like islands, others are only partially surrounded. Such as 
lie above the marshes in the interior are situated on rivers 
navigable for a surprising distance, the Po in particular, 

1 OfVannes. 

2 From the Heneti, whence is the race of wild mules. Iliad ii. 857. 

3 Transpadana. 4 The Mediterranean. 

5 The whole of the coast from Ravenna to Aquileia at the bottom of the 
Gulf of Venice is still covered with marshes and lagoons, as it was in the 
time of Strabo. The largest of these lagoons are at the mouths of the 
Po, the others at the mouths of the torrents which descend from the Alps 

B. v. c. i. 6, 7. ITALY. CISALPINE GAUL. 317 

which is both a large river, and also continually swelled by 
the rains and snows. As it expands into numerous outlets, 
its mouth is not easily perceptible and is difficult to enter. 
But experience surmounts even the greatest difficulties. 

6. Formerly, as we have said, the district next this river 
was chiefly inhabited bv Kelts. The principal nations of 
these Kelts were the Boii, the Insubri, and the Senones and . 
Ga3sata3, who in one of their incursions took possession of 
KoTne. The Romans afterwards entirely extirpated these 
latter, and expelled the Boii from their country, who then 
inigr rated to the land about the Danube, where they dwelt 
wTthlhe Taurisci, and warred against the Dacians until the 
whole nation was destroyed ; and they left to the surround- 

ing tribes this sheep-pasturing district of Illyria. The Insubri ' 
still exist; their metropolis is Mediolanum, 1 which formerly fa ( ^ 
was a village, (for they all dwelt in villages,) but is now a 
considerable city, beyond the Po, and almost touching the 
Alps. Near to it is Verojia, a large city, and the smaller 
towns Brescia, Mantua, Reggio, and Como. This latter was 
but a very indifferent colony, having been seriously impaired 
by the Rhasti who dwelt higher up, but it was repeopled by 
Pojn^ey Strabo, father of Pompey the Great. Afterwards ^ 
Caius Scipio 2 transferred thither 3000 men, and finally divus 
Caesar peopled jt^with. 500Qjmen, the most distinguished of 
wHom wer^5dOJjrreeks. Heconferred on these the privileges 
of citizens, arid enrolled them amongst the inhabitants. They 
not only took up their abode here, but left their name to the 
colony itself; for all the inhabitants taking the name of 
NfOk-w/utT-cu, this was translated [into Latin], and the place 
called Novum-Comum. Near to this place is Lake Larius, 3 C^ * 
which is filled by the river Adda, and afterwards flows out 
into the Po. The sources of this river, as well as those of 
the Rhine, rise in Mount Adulas. 4 

7. These cities are situated high above the marshes ; 
near to them is Patavium, 5 the finest of all the cities in this 

1 Milan. 

2 Apparently a mistake for Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus ; we 
are unacquainted with any Caius Scipio. 3 The Lake of Como. 

4 The source of the Adda is at the foot of Mount BrauIFo ; the~three 
sources of the Rhine issue from Mounts St. Bernardin, St. Barnabe, and 
Crispalt, at a considerable distance from the source of the Adda. 

5 Padua. 

318 STRABO. CASAUB. 213. 

district, and which at the time of the late census 1 was said to 
contain 500 equites. Anciently it could muster an army of 
120,000 men. The population and skill of this city is 
evinced by the vast amount of manufactured goods it sends 
to the Roman market, especially clothing of all kinds. It com- 
municates with the sea by a river navigable from a large har- 
bour [at its mouth], the river runs across the marshes for a dis- 
tance of 250 stadia. This harbour, 2 as well as the river, 3 is 
named Medoacus. Situated in the marshes is the great [city of] 
Ravenna, built entirely on piles, 4 and traversed by canals^ 
wfiich you cross by bridges or ferry-boats. At the full tides 
it is washed by a considerable quantity of sea-water, as well 
as by the river, and thus the sewage is carried off, and the 
air purified ; in fact, the district is considered so salubrious 
that the [Roman]governors have selected it as a spot to bring 
up and exercisethe gladiators in. ~lt is* a remarkable pecu- 
liarity oftms place, that, though situated in the midst of a 
marsh, the air is perfectly innocuous ; the same is the case with 
respect to Alexandria in Egypt, where the malignity of the 
lake during summer is entirely removed by the rising of the 
river which covers over the mud. Another remarkable pecu- 
liarity is that of its vines, which, though growing in the 
marshes, make very quickly and yield a large amount of fruit, 
but perish in four or five years. Altinum 5 stands likewise 
in the marshes, its situation being very similar to that of 
Ravenna. Between them is Butrium, 6 a small city of Ravenna, 
and Spina, 7 which is now a village, but wajs anciently a Cele- 
brated (jjrecian citv. In fact, the treasures ^of the Spimtae 
are shown at Delphi, and it is, besides, reported in history that 

1 This appears to have been the last census of the three taken under 
the reign of Augustus. The first occurred in the year of Rome 726, twenty- 
eight years before the Christian era ; the number of citizens then amounted 
to 4,064,000, or, according to Eusebius, 4,011,017. The second was in the 
year of Rome 746, eight years before the Christian era; the number of 
citizens was then found to be 4,163.000. The third census was in the 
year of Rome 767, in the fourteenth year of the Christian era ; the num- 
ber of citizens at this time was 4,037,000, according to the monument of 
Ancyra, but according to Eusebius, 9,070,000. 

2 Chioggia. 3 The Bacchiglione. 

4 wXo7ray//e 0X77. We have followed the rendering of the French 
translators ; however, Guarini, Buonaccivoli, Xylander, Siebenkees, and 
Brequigny, all understand Strabo to mean that the city was built entirely 
of wood. 5 Altino. 6 Bulrio. 7 Spinazino. 

B.V. c. i. $8. ITALY. CISALPINE GAUL. 319 

they had dominion over the sea. They say that it formerly 
stood on the sea ; now, however, the district is inland about 90 
stadia from the sea. Ravenna is reported to have been 
founded by Thessalians, who not being able to sustain the 
violence of the Tyrrheni, welcomed into their city some of the 
Ombrici, who still possess it, while they themselves returned 
home. These cities for the most part are surrounded, and, as 
it were, washed by the marshes. 

8. Opitergium, 1 Concordia, Atria, 2 Vicetia, 3 as well as 
some smaller cities, are less annoyed by the marshes : they 
communicate by small navigable canals with the sea. They 
say that Atria was formerly a famous city, from which the 
Adriatic Gulf, with a slight variation, received its name. 
Aquileia, which is the nearest to the head [of the gulf], was 
founded by the Romans, 4 to keep in check the barbarians 
dwelling higher up. You may navigate transport ships to 
it up the river Natisone for more than sixty stadia. This 
is the trading city with the .nations of Illyrians who dwell 
round the Danube. Some deal in marine merchandise, 
and carry in waggons wine in wooden casks and oil, and 
others exchange slaves, cattle, and hides. Aquileia is with- 
out the limits of the Heneti, their country being bounded 
by a river which flows from the mountains of the Alps, 
and is navigable for a distance of 1200 stadia, as far as the 
city of Noreia, 8 near to where Cnseus Carbo was defeated 
in his attack upon the Kimbrians. 6 This place contains fine 
stations for gold washing and iron-works. At the very 
head of the Adriatic is the Timavum, 7 a temple conse- 
crated to Diomede, worthy of notice. For it contains a har- 
bour and a fine grove, with seven springs of fresh water, 
which fall into the sea in a broad, deep river. 8 Polybius, 
however, says that, with the exception of one, they are all salt 
springs, and that it is on this account the place is called by 
the inhabitants the source and mother of the sea. Posi- 
donius, on the other hand, tells us that the river Timavo, after 
flowing from the mountains, precipitates itself into a chasm, 

1 Oderzo. - Aclria. 3 Viceiiza. 

4 About the year 186 before the Christian era. 

5 Friesach in Steiermark. 6 113 years before the Christian era. 
7 S. Giovanni del Carso. 8 The present Timavo. 

320 STEABO. CASAUII. 215. 

and after flowing under ground about 130 stadia, discharges 
itself into the sea. 

9. That Diomedes did hold sovereignty over the country 
around this sea, 1 is proved both by the Diomedean islands, 2 
and the traditions concerning the Daunii and Argos-Hippium. 3 
Of these we shall narrate as much as may be serviceable to 
history, and shall leave alone the numerous falsehoods and 
myths ; such, for instance, as those concerning Phaethon and 
the Heliades 4 changed into alders near the [river] Erida- 
nus, which exists no where, although said to be near the Po ; 5 
of the islands Electrides, opposite the mouths of the Po, and 
the Meleagrides, 6 found in them ; none of which things exist 
in these localities. 7 However, some have narrated that honours 
are paid to Diomedes amongst the Heneti, and that they 
sacrifice to him a white horse ; two groves are likewise pointed 
out, one [sacred] to the Argian Juno, and the other to the 
-ZEtolian Diana. They have too, as we might expect, fictions 
concerning these groves ; for instance, that the wild beasts in 
them grow tame, that the deer herd with wolves, and they 
suffer men to approach and stroke them; and that when 
pursued by dogs, as soon as they have reached these groves, 

1 The Adriatic. 

2 The three islands of Tremiti, namely Domenico, Nicola, and Caprara, 
opposite Monte Gargano. 3 Arpino. 

4 Phaethusa, Lampetie, and Lampethusa. See Virg. Eel. vi. 62 ; JEn. 
x. 190; Ovid Met. ii. 

5 Either this passage has undergone alteration, or else Strabo is the 
only writer who informs us that certain mythological traditions distin- 
guished the Eridanus from the Po, placing the former of these rivers in the 
vicinity of the latter. The pere Bardetti thinks the Greeks originally 
confounded the Eretenus, a tributary of the Po, with the name Eridanus. 

6 Probably Guinea-hens. 

7 Strabo seems here to doubt that the Electrides islands ever existed, 
but the French translators, in a very judicious note, have explained that 
the geographical features of the country about the mouths of the Po had 
undergone very considerable changes on account of the immense alluvial 
deposit brought down from the mountains by that river, and suggest that 
these islands had been united to the main-land long before Strabo's time, 
for which reason he would not be able to verify the ancient traditions. 
Even at the present day the Cavalier Negrelli is employing his celebrated 
engineering science in making the communication between the Po and 
the Adriatic navigable, and so rendering the countries bordering on the 
Ticino, Adda, Mincio, Trebbia, Panono, and the adjacent lakes ac- 
cessible to steam-boats from the Adriatic. 

B. v. c. i. 10. ITALY. CISALPINE GAUL. 321 

the dogs no longer pursue them. They say, too, that a certain 
person, well known for the facility with which he offered him- 
self as a pledge for others, being bantered on this subject by 
some hunters who came up with him having a wolf in leash, 
they said in jest, that if he would become pledge for the wolf 
and pay for the damage he might do, they would loose the bonds. 
To this the man consented, and they let loose the wolf, who 
gave chase to a herd of horses unbranded, and drove them 
into the stable of the person who had become pledge for him. 
The man accepted the gift, branded the horses with [the 
representation of] a wolf, and named them Lucophori. They 
were distinguished rather for their swiftness than gracefulness. 
His heirs kept the same brand and the same name for this 
race of horses, and made it a rule never to part with a single 
mare, in order that they might remain sole possessors of the 
race, which became famous. At the present day, however, as 
we have before remarked, this [rage for] horse-breeding has 
entirely ceased. 

After the Timavum l comes the sea-coast of Istria as far as 
Pola, which appertains to Italy. Between [the two] is the 
fortress of Tergeste, distant from Aquileia 180 stadia. Pola 
is situated in a gulf forming a kind of port, and containing 
some small islands, 2 fruitful, and with good harbours. This city 
was anciently founded by the Colchians sent after Medea, 
who not being able to fulfil their mission, condemned them- 
selves to exile. As Callimachus says, 

" It a Greek would call 

The town of Fugitives, but in their tongue 

'Tis Pola named." 

The different parts of Transpadana are inhabited by the 
Heneti and the IstriL as far as Pola ; above the Heneti, by 
the Garni, the Cenomani, the Medoaci, and the Symbri. 3 These 
nations were formerly at enmity with the Romans, but the 
Cenomani and Heneti allied themselves with that nation, both 
prior to the expedition of Hannibal, when they waged war 
with the Boii and Symbrii, 3 and also after that time. 

10. Cispadana comprehends all that country enclosed be- 

1 The Timavum, or temple consecrated to Diomede. 

2 The Isola di Brioni, Conversara, and S. Nicolo. Pliny calls them 
Insulae Pullarise. 

3 This name is probably corrupt ; Cora-y proposes to read Insubri. 

322 STRABO. CASAUB. 216. 

tween the Apennines and the Alps as far as Genoa and the 
Vada-Sabbatorum. 1 The greater part was inhabited by the 
Boii, the Ligurians, the Senones, and Gassatas ; but after the 
depopulation of the Boii, and the destruction of the Gsesatse 
and Senones, the Ligurian tribes and the Roman colonies 
alone remained. The nation of the Ombrici 2 and certain of 
the Tyrrheni are also mixed amongst the Romans. These 
two nations, before the aggrandizement of the Romans, had 
some disputes with each other concerning precedence. Having 
only the river Tiber between, it was easy to commence war 
upon each other ; and if the one sent out an expedition against 
any nation, it was the ambition of the other to enter the same 
country with an equal force. Thus, the Tyrrheni, having 
organized a successful expedition against the barbarians 
[dwelling in the countries] about the Po, but having speedily 
lost again through their luxury [all they had acquired], the 
Ombrici made war upon those who had driven them out. 
Disputes arose between the Tyrrheni and Ombrici concern- 
ing the right of possessing these places, and both nations 
founded many colonies ; those, however, of the Ombrici were 
most numerous, as they were nearest to the spot. When the 
Romans gained the dominion, they sent out colonies to 
different parts, but preserved those which had been formerly 
planted by their predecessors. And although now they are 
all Romans, they are not the less distinguished, some by the 
names of Ombri and T^xrieni, others by those of Heneti, 
Ligurians, and Insubri. 

11. Both in Cispadana and around the Po there are some 
fine cities. Placentia 3 and Cremona, situated about the mid- 
dle of the country, are close to each other. Between these 
and Ariminum, 4 are Parma, Mutina, 5 and Bononia, 6 which is 
near to Ravenna ; amongst these are smaller cities on the 
route to Rome, as Acara, 7 Rhegium-Lepidum, 8 Macri-Campi, 9 
where a public festival is held every year, Claterna, 10 Forum- 
Cornelium ; H while Faventia 12 and Ca5sena, situated near to the 
river Savio 13 and the Rubicon, 14 are adjacent to Ariminum. 

1 Vadi. 2 The Umbrians, or Umbri, of Roman History. 

3 Piacenza. * Rimini. 5 Modena. 6 Bologna. 

" Probably corrupt. 8 Reggio in Modena. 

9 Between Parma and Modena, the Val di Montirone and Orte Ma- 
grada. 10 Quaderna. u Imola. l2 Faenza. 

13 Ancient Sapis. u Probably Pisatello. 

B. v. c. i. 11. ITALY. CISALPINE GAUL. 323 

Ariminum, like Ravenna, is an ancient colony of the Ombri, 
but both of them have received also Roman colonies. Ari- 
minum has a port and a river 1 of the same name as itself. 
From Placentia to Ariminum there are 1300 stadia. About 
36 miles above Placentia, towards the boundaries of the king- 
dom of Cottius, is the city of Ticinum, 2 by which flows a river 3 
bearing the same name, which falls into the Po, while a little 
out of the route are Clastidium, 4 Derthon, 5 and Aquae- Stati- 
ellae. 6 But the direct route as far as Ocelum, 7 along the Po 
and the Doria Riparia, 8 is full of precipices, intersected by nu- 
merous other rivers, one of which is the Durance, 9 and is about 
1 60 miles long. Here comme'nce the Alpine mountains and Kel- 
tica. 10 Near to the mountains above Luna is the city of Lucca. 
Some [of the people of this part of Italy] dwell in villages, 
nevertheless it is well populated, and furnishes the greater 
part of the military force, and of 4 equites, of whom the senate 
is partly composed. Derthon is a considerable city, situated 
about half way on the road from Genoa to Placentia, which 
are distant 400 stadia from each other. Aquae- Statiellae is 
on the same route. That from Placentia to Ariminum we 
have already described, but the sail to Ravenna down the Po 
requires two days and nights. A 11 great part of Cispadana 
likewise was covered by marshes, through which Hannibal 
passed with difficulty on his march into Tyrrhenia. 12 But 
Scaurus drained the plains by navigable canals from the Po 13 
to the country of the Parmesans. For the Trebia meeting 
the Po near Placentia, and having previously received many 
other rivers, is over-swollen near this place. I allude to the 
Scaurus 14 who also made the JEmilian road through Pisa 
and Luna as far as Sabbatorum, and thence through Der- 
thon. There is another JEmilian road, which continues the 
Flaminian. For Marcus Lepidus and Caius Flaminius being 
colleagues in the consulship, and having vanquished the 
Ligurians, the one made the Via Flaminia from Rome across 

1 The Marecchia. 2 Pavia. 3 The Ticino. 

4 Castezzio. 5 Tortona. 6 Acqui, on the left bank of the Bormia. 
7 Ucello. 8 Aovpiae. 9 The ancient Dmentia. 

10 Transalpine Gaul. u From here to the word Derthon the text 

appears to be corrupt. 12 Tuscany. 

13 Clavier proposes to read " from Placentia to Parma ; " he has been 
followed throughout the passage by the French translators. 

14 M. ^Emilius Scaurus. 

324 STRABO. f CASAUB. 218. 

Tyrrhenia and Ombrica as far as the territory of Ariminum, 1 
the other, the road as far as Bononia, 2 and thence to Aquileia 3 
by the roots of the Alps, and encircling the marshes. The 
boundaries which separate from the rest of Italy this country, 
which we designate Citerior Keltica, 4 were marked by the 
Apennine mountains above Tyrrhenia and the river Esino, 5 
and afterwards by the Rubicon. 6 Both these rivers fall into 
the Adriatic. 

12. The fertility of this country is proved by its population, 
the size of its cities, and its wealth, in all of which the 
Romans of this country surpass the rest of Italy. The culti- 
vated land produces fruits in abundance and of every kind, 
and the woods contain such abundance of mast, that Rome is 
principally supplied from the swine fed there. Being well 
supplied with w.ater, millet grows there in perfection. This 
affords the greatest security against famine, inasmuch as mil- 
let resists any inclemency of the atmosphere, and never fails, 
even when there is scarcity of other kinds of grain. Their 
pitch-works are amazing, and their casks give evidence of the 
abundance of wine : these are made of wood, and are larger 
than houses, and the great supply of pitch allows them to be 
sold cheap. The soft wool and by far the best is produced 
in the country round Mutina 7 and the river Panaro ; 8 while 
the coarse wool, which forms the main article of clothing 
amongst the slaves in Italy, is produced in Liguria and the 
country of the .Symbri. There is a middling kind grown 
about Patavium, 9 of which the finer carpets, gausapi, 10 and 
every thing else of the same sort, whether with the wool on 

1 Strabo here falls into a mistake in attributing to C. Flaminius Nepos, 
who was consul in the year of Rome 567, 187 years before the Christian 
era, the construction of the Via Flaminia which led from the Portus 
Flumentana to the city of Ariminum. According to most Latin authors, 
this grand route was formed by C. Flaminius Nepos, censor in the year 
of Rome 534, and 220 years before the Christian era (the same who 
three years afterwards was slain at the battle of Thrasymenus). Livy, 
whose authority is certainly of great weight, speaking of the grand road 
made by C. Flaminius Nepos, consul in the year of Rome 567, states ex- 
pressly that it led from Bologna to Arezzo. Hist. lib. xxxix. 2. 

2 Bologna. 3 Maft'ei proposes to substitute Placentia for Aquileia. 

4 Cisalpine Gaul. 

5 The ancient JEsis, now Esino, named also Fiumesino. 

6 Probably the Pisatello. 7 Modena. 8 The Scultanna of antiquity. 
9 Padua. 10 A kind of cassock with long hair. 

B. v, c. ii. 1. ITALY. ETRURIA. 325 

one or on both sides, are made. The mines are not worked 
now so diligently, because not equally profitable with those of 
Transalpine Keltica and Iberia ; but formerly they must have 
been, since there were gold-diggings even in Vercelli, near 
to Ictimuli, 1 both which villages are near to Placentia. 2 
Here we finish our description of the first part of Italy, and 
pass on to the second. 


1. IN the second place, we shall treat of that portion of Ligu- 
ria situated in the Apennines, between the Keltica 3 already 
described and Tyrrhenia. There is nothing worth mention- 
ing about it, except that the people dwell in villages, ploughing 
and digging the intractable land, or rather, as Posidonius ex- 
presses it, hewing the j*ocks. 

The third division contains the Tyrrhenians, who dwell "~ 
next the former, and inhabit the plains extending to the 
Tiber, which river, as far as its outlet, washes the side towards 
the east, the opposite side being washed by the Tyrrhenian 
and Sardinian sea. The Tiber flows from the Apennines, and 
is swelled by many rivers ; it flows partly through Tyrrhenia, 
dividing it in the first instance from Ombffca, 4 afterwards I 
from the Sabini and the Latini, who are situated next Rome | 
as far as tHe^ea-coast ; so ^Kat these countries are bounded """" 
in their breadth by the river [Tiber] and the Tyrrhenians, 
and in their length by each other. They extend upwards 
towards the Apennines which approach the Adriatic. The 
fip^t 5 are the Ombrici, after these the Sabini, and finally the 
inhabitants of Latium. They all commence from the river. 
The country of fnlT Latini extends on one side along the sea- 
coast from Ostia to the city of Sinuessa, on the other it 
is bounded by the land of the Sabini, (Ostia is the port of 
Rome, through which the Tiber passes in its course,) it 

1 Probably Victimolo. 2 Piacenza. 

3 Gallia Cispadana. 4 'OfiflpiKij, now Ombria. 

5 Or nearest to the Adriatic. 

326 STRABO. CASAUB. 219. 

extends in length as far as Campania and the Saninitic moun- 
tains. The country of the Sabini lies between the Latini 
and the Ombrici, it likewise extends to the Saninitic moun- 
tains, but approaches nearer to the Apennines inhabited by 
the Vestini, the Peligni, and the Marsi. The Ombrici lie 
between the country of the Sabini and Tyrrhenia, but extend 
beyond the mountains as far as Ariminum, 1 and Ravenna. 
The Tyrrheni, commencing from their own sea and the Tiber, 
extend to the circular chain of mountains which stretches 
from Liguria to the Adriatic. We will now enter into a 
detailed account, commencing with these. 

2. The Tyrrheni have now received from the Romans the 
surname of Etrusci and Tusci. The Greeks thus named them 
from Tyrrhenus the son of Atys, as they say, who sent hither 
a-colonyTrom Lydia. Atys, who was one of the descendants 
of Hercules and Omphale, and had two sons, in a time of 
famine and scarcity determined by lot that Lydus should re- 
main in the country, but that Tyrrhenus, with the greater 
part of the people, should depart. Arriving here, he named 
the country after himself, Tyrrhenia, and founded twelve 
cities, having appointed as their governor Tarcon, from 
whom the city of Tarquinia [received its name], and who, on 
account of the sagacity which he had displayed from child- 
hood, was feigned to have been born with hoary hair. Placed 
originally under one authority, they became flourishing ; but 
it seems that in after-times, their confederation being broken 
up and each city separated, they yielded to the violence of 
the neighbouring tribes. Otherwise they would never have 
abandoned a fertile country for a life of piracy on the sea, 
roving from one ocean to another ; since, when united they 
were able not only to repel those who assailed them, but to 
act on the offensive, and undertake long campaigns. After 
fa~' the founjda^p^i^f^p^eiJDejnaratus arrived here, bringing 
with him people^ from^Corinth. 2 He was received at Tar- 
quinia, where he had_a_son, named Lucumo, by a woman of 
that country. 3 Lucumo becoming the friend ~of Ancus Mar- 

1 Rimini. 

2 Larcher calculates that it was about the year of Rome 91, or 663 
years before the Christian era, that Demaratus, flying from the tyranny of 
Cypselus at Corinth, established himself in Tyrrhenia. 

3 Strabo here mentions only one son of Demaratus, to whom he gives 

B. v. c. ii. 3. ITALY. ETRURIA. 327 

cius, king of the Romans, succeeded him on the throne, and 
assumed the name of Lucius~^KrquTnTuT Priscus. Both he 
and his father did mnghjor^j.h^^ of Tyrrhenia. 

the one by means of the numerous artists who had followed 
him from tj^eiEIaative country TThe other having the resou rces 
oTRome^ It is saicT thaT the triumphal costume of the con- 
suls, as well as that of the other magistrates, was introduced ' 
from the Tarquinii, with the fasces, axes, trumpets, sacrifices, 
divination, and music employed by the Romans in their 
public ceremonies. His son, the second Tarquin, named Su- 
perbus, who was driven from his throne, was the last king 
Rome]. Porsena, king of Clusium, 2 a city of Tyrrhe 
endeavoured to replace him on the throne by force of arms, 
but not being able he made peace 3 with the Romans, and 
departed in a friendly way, with honour and loaded with gifts. 
3. Such are the facts concerning the celebrity of the Tyr- 
rheni, to which may be added the explojjs_oLj3iejCaeretani, 4 
who defeated the Galatae after they had taken Rome. Having 
attacked them as they were departing through the country of 
the Sabini, they took from them, much against their will, the 
ransom which the Romans had willingly paid to them ; besides 
this, they_toojcjin^e^jtheir_proj^tipjn thosejvvho fledjfcp them 
out of RomeT the sacred fire and the priestesses of Vesta/? 
The Romans, influenced by those who then misgoverned the 
city, seen^oXto^ayje_be^n_pr^ejljjmindful of this service ; 
for although they conferred on them the rights of citizenship, 
they did not enrol them amongst the citizens ; and further, 
they inscribed upoji the same.,joll with the Cgretani, others 
who did not enjoy as great privileges as they did. However, 

the name of Lucumo ; in this latter statement he is supported by Diony- 
sius Halicarnassus. Livy also mentions a young citizen of Clusium 
named Lucumo. But there is reason to believe that these three writers 
were deceived by the writers whom they followed. It seems to be in- 
contestable that Lucumo was the designation of the chief of each of the 
twelve cities of Etruria. 

1 Dionysius Halicarnassus relates that after a brisk war the cities of 
Etruria submitted to Tarquinius Priscus, and that the Romans permitted 
him to accept this foreign royalty, and still hold the throne of Rome. 
No historian that we are aware of, with the exception of Strabo, men- 
tions the benefits received by Etruria from that prince. 

2 Chiusi. 3 B. c. 508. 
* The people of Cerveteri. 

5 This is also related by Livy and Valerius Maximus. 

328 STRABO. CASAUB. 220. 

amongst the Greeks this city was highly esteemed both for 
its bravery and rectitude of conduct ; for they refrained from 
piracy, with favourable opportunities for engaging in it, and 
dedicated at Delphi the treasure, as it was called, of the 
Agyllasi ; for their country was formerly named Agylla, though 
now Caerea. It is said to have been founded by Pelasgi from 
Thessaly. The Lydians, who had taken the name of Tyr- 
rheni, having engaged in war against the Agyllaei, one of them, 
approaching the wall, inquired the name of the city ; when 
one of the Thessalians from the wall, instead of answering the 
question, saluted him with xdipe. 1 The Tyrrheni received this 
as an omen, and having taken the city they changed its name. 
This city, once so flourishing and celebrated, only preserves 
the traces [of its former greatness] ; the neighbouring hot 
springs, named Caeretana, 2 being more frequented than it, by 
the people attracted thither for the sake of their health. 

t4. Almost every one is agreed that the Pelasgi were an ancient 
race spread throughout the whole of Greece, but especially in 
the^ountry oftEe JEolians near to Thessaly. Ephorus, 
however, says that he considers fney wefe~ originally Arca- 
dians, who had taken up a warlike mode of life ; and having 
persuaded many others to the same course, imparted their own 
name to the whole, and became famous both among the Greeks, 
and in every other country where they chanced to come. 
Homer informs us that there were colonies of them in Crete, 
for he makes Ulysses say to Penelope 

" Diverse their language is ; Achaians some, 
And some indigenous are ; Cydonians there, 
Crest-shaking Dorians, and Pelasgians dwell." 3 

And that portion of Thessaly between the outlets of the 
Peneius 4 and the Thermopylae, as far as the mountains of 
Pindus, is named Pelasgic Argos, the district having formerly 
belonged to the Pelasgi. The poet himself also gives to Do- 
donaean Jupiter, the epithet of Pelasgian : 

1 A Grecian form of salutation, equivalent to our " good-morning." 

2 Cseri, according to Holstenius, the Bagni di Sasso, Cluvier con- 
sidered it Bagni di Stigliano. 

3 Odyssey xix. 175. And there is a different language of different men 
mixed together ; there are in it Achaians, and magnanimous Eteocretans, 
and Cydonians, and crest-shaking Dorians, and divine Pelasgians. 

4 The Salambria, Costum. 

B. v. c. ii. 5. ITALY. ETRURIA. 329 

" Pelasgian, Dodoneean Jove supreme." ' 

Many have likewise asserted that the nations of the Epirus 
are Pelasgic, because the dominions of the Pelasgi extended 
so far. And, as many of the heroes have been named Pelasgi, 
later writers have applied the same name to the nations over 
which they were the chiefs. Thus Lesbos 2 has been callecT" 
Pelasgic, and Homer has called the people bordering on the 
Cilices in the Troad Pelasgic : 

" Hippothous from Larissa, for her soil 
Far-famed, the spear-expert Pelasgians brought." 3 

Ephorus, when he supposes that they were a tribe of Arca- 
dians, follows Hesiod, who says, 

" The sons born of the divine Lycaon, whom formerly Pelasgus begot." 
Likewise jiEschylus in his Suppliants, or Danaids, makes their 
race to be of Argos near Mycenae. Ephorus likewise says that 
Peloponnesus was named Pelasgia ; and Euripides, in the 
Archelaus, says, 

" Danaus, who was the father of fifty daughters, having arrived in Argos 
inhabited 4 the city of Inachus, and made a law that those who had before 
borne the name of Pelasgiotae throughout Greece should be called Danai." 

Anticlides says, that they first colonized about Lemnos and 
Imbros, and that some of their number passed into Italy with 
Tyrrhenus, the son of Atys. And the writers on the Athenian 
Antiquities, 5 relate of the Pelasgi, that some of them came to 
Athens, where, on account of their wanderings, and their set- 
tling like birds in any place where they chanced to come, 
they were called by the Athenians PelargiP 

5. They say that the greatest length of Tyrrhenia, which is 
along the coast from Luna to Ostia, is about 2500 stadia ; and 
that its breadth in the direction of the mountains is less than 
half that number. Then from Luna to Pisa there are more than 
400 stadia ; from thence to Volaterrae 7 280 ; thence to Pop- 

1 Iliad xvi. 223. 2 Metelino. 

3 Iliad ii. 840, Hippothous led the tribes of the spear-skilled Pelasgians, 
of those who inhabited fertile Larissa. 

4 We have followed the example of the French translators in reading 
$Ki]ffiv with all MSS. Groskurd and Kramer adopt the views of Xy- 
lander and Siebenkees in substituting $KIGIV. 

5 Oi rrfv 'ArOida (ruyypa^avrtg. 'A.rQiQ was a title given to their works 
by many authors who wrote on Athenian Antiquities, as Philochorus, An- 
drotion, Amelesagoras, Hellanicus, &c. 

8 Or Storks. 7 Volterra. 

330 STRABO. CASAU-B. 222. 

Ionium 270 ; and from Poplonium to Cossa 1 near 800, or as 
some say, 600. Polybius, however, says that there are not 2 in 
all 1330. 3 Of these Luna is a city and harbour ; it is named by 
the Greeks, the harbour and city of Selene. 4 The city is not 
large, but the harbour 5 is very fine and spacious, containing in 
itself numerous harbours, all of them deep near the shore ; it 
is in fact an arsenal worthy of a nation holding dominion for 
so long a time over so vast a sea. The harbour is surrounded 
by lofty mountains, 6 from whence you may view the sea 7 
and Sardinia, and a great part of the coast on either side. Here 
are quarries of marble, both white and marked with green, so 
numerous and large, as to furnish tablets and columns of one 
block ; and most of the material for the fine works, both in 
Rome and the other cities, is furnished from hence. The 
transport of the marble is easy, as the quarries lie near to the 
sea, and from the sea they are conveyed by the Tiber. Tyr- 
rhenia likewise supplies most of the straightest and longest 
planks for building, as they are brought direct from the 
mountains to the river. Between Luna and Pisa flows the 
Macra, 8 a division which many writers consider the true bound- 
ary of Tyrrhenia and Liguria. isa was founded by the 
Pjsatse of the Peloponnesus, who went under Nestor to the 
expedition again sTTroy, but in their voyage~horne wandered 
out of their course, some to Metapontium, 9 others to the Pisatis ; 
they were, however, all called Pylians. The city lies between 
the two rivers Arno 10 and ^Esar, 11 at their point of confluence ; 
the former of which, though very full, descends from Arretium 12 
not in one body, but divided into three ; the second flows 

Ruins near Ansedonia. 

Coray here reads ovv for OVK. Kramer considers the passage corrupt. 

The French translation here gives 1460, and a note by Gosselin. 

~2e\r)rT], the moon. 5 The bay of Spezia. 

The mountains of Carrara. 7 The Mediterranean. 

Other writers mention a river Macra, but none of them, as it appears, 
a district in Italy bearing that name. Kramer supposes that Strabo wrote 
Trora/uov, and not %u)piov t the reading of all MS. 

* Near the mouth of the river Basiento. 10 The ancient Arnus. 

11 Corresponding to the present Serchio, which discharges itself into the 
sea, and not into the Arno. The time when this change of direction took 
place is not recorded, but traces of the ancient name and course of the 
river remain in the Osari, which, after flowing a short distance through a 
marshy district, falls into the sea between the Serchio and Arno. 

12 Arezzo. 

B. v. c. ii. 6. ITALY. ETRURIA. 331 

down from the Apennines. Where they fall into one current, 
the shock between them is so great as to raise the water to 
that height, that people standing on either bank are not able 
to see each other ; so that necessarily the voyage up from 
the sea is difficult. This voyage is about 20 stadia. There 
is a tradition, that when these rivers first descended from the 
mountains they were impeded by the inhabitants of the dis- 
trict, lest falling together they should inundate the country ; 
however, they promised not to inundate it, and they have kept 
their word. This city appears to have been formerly flourish- 
ing, and at the present day it still maintains its name, on 
account of its fertility, its marble-quarries, and its wood for 
building ships, which formerly they employed to preserve 
themselves from danger by sea ; for they were more warlike 
than the Tyrrheni, and were constantly irritated by the Ligu- 
rians, troublesome neighbours, who dwelt on the coast. At 
the present day the wood is mostly employed for building 
houses in Rome, and in the country villas [of the Romans], 
which resemble in their gorgeousness Persian palaces. 

6. The country of the Volaterrani 1 is washed by the sea. 
Their city is situated in a deep hollow on the top of a high 
hill. The wall of the city is built round its summit, which is 
flat and precipitous on every side. From its base, the ascent 
upward is fifteen stadia, steep and difficult. Here certain 
of the Tyrrhenians and of those proscribed by Sulla, 2 took 
their stand, and having organized four bands, sustained a 
siege for two years, and at last secured articles of truce be- 
fore surrendering the place. Poplonium is situated on a lofty 
promontory, which projects into the sea, and forms a cher- 
sonesus. It likewise sustained a siege about the same time. This 
little place is now deserted, with the exception of the temples 
and a few houses ; the sea-port, which is situated at the root 
of the mountain, is better inhabited, having both a small har- 
bour and ship-sheds. This appears to me the only one of the 
ancient Tyrrhenian cities situated on the sea ; the reason 
being that this territory affords no harbours. The founders 
[of the cities] therefore either avoided the sea altogether, or 
threw up fortifications in order that they might not become 
the ready prey of those who might sail against them. On the 

1 Volterra. 2 Eighty-one years B. c. 


summit [of the cape] there is a look-out for thunnies. 1 From 
this city there is an indistinct and distant view of Sardinia. 
Cyrnus, 2 however, is nearer, being distant from Sardinia about 
60 stadia. While JEthalia 3 is much nearer to the continent 
than either, being distant therefrom only 300 4 stadia, and the 
same number from Cyrnus. Poplonium is the best starting- 
place to any of the three mentioned islands. We ourselves ob- 
served them from the height of Poplonium, in which place 
we saw certain mines which had been abandoned, we also saw 
the craftsmen who work the iron brought from JEthalia ; for 
they cannot reduce it into bars in the furnaces on the island, 
and it is therefore transferred direct from the mines to the 
continent. There is another remarkable circumstance, that 
the exhausted mines of the island in course of time are again re- 
filled similarly to what they say takes place at the platamones b 
in Rhodes, the marble-quarries in Paros, and the salt-mines 
in India, mentioned by Clitarchus. Eratosthenes was there- 
fore incorrect in saying that from the mainland you could 
neither see Cyrnus nor Sardinia ; and so was Artemidorus in 
his assertion, that both these places lay in the high sea at a 
distance of 1200 stadia. For whatever others might, I cer- 
tainly could never have seen them at such a distance, however 
carefully I had looked, particularly Cyrnus. .JEthalia has a 
harbour named Argoiis, 6 derived, as they say, from the [ship] 
Argo, Jason having sailed hither, seeking the abode of Circe 
as Medea wished to see that goddess ; and that from the sweat 
scraped off by the Argonauts and hardened, are formed the 
variegated pebbles now seen on the beach. 7 This and similar 
traditions prove what we before stated, that Homer did not 
invent them all himself, but, hearing the numerous current 
stories, he merely transferred the scenes to other localities 
and exaggerated the distances : as he makes Ulysses wander 

1 This was a regular business. A man was posted on a high place, from 
which he could see the shoals coming, and make a sign to the fishermen. 

2 Corsica. 3 The island of Elba. 

* The French translation has 200 in text, while it states in a note that 
all manuscripts give 300, and continues to discuss the real distance at 
some length. Kramer says, in a note, that MS. Vatic. No. 482, has 200. 

3 T[\ara}iS)vaQ is here adopted is preference to any attempt at trans- 
lation. It is probable they were quarries of the cream-coloured limestone 
of the island. 6 Porto Ferrajo. 

7 Gosselin supposes that the crystals of iron, abundant in the island of 
Elba, are here alluded to. 

B. v. c. ii. 7. ITALY. CORSICA. SARDINIA. 333 

over the ocean, so does he narrate of Jason, as he too had 
been renowned for his travels : and the same he likewise re- 
lates of Menelaus. This is what we have to say of JEthalia. 

7. Cyrnus is called by the Romans Corsica ; it is poorly in- 
habited, being both rugged and in many parts entirely inac- 
cessible, so that the mountaineers, who live by plunder, are 
more savage than wild beasts. Whenever any Roman general 
invades the country, and, penetrating into the wilds, seizes a 
vast number of slaves, it is a marvel to behold in Rome how 
savage and bestial they appear. For they either scorn to live, 
or if they do live, aggravate their purchasers by their apathy and 
insensibility, causing them to regret the purchase-money, how- 
ever small. 1 We must remark, however, that some districts are 
habitable, and that there are some small cities, for instance 
Blesino, Charax, Eniconiae, and Vapanes. 2 The chorogra- 
pher 3 says that the length of this island is 160 miles, its breadth 
70 ; that the length of Sardinia is 220, and its breadth 98. 
According to others, the perimeter of Cyrnus is said to be about 
1200 4 stadia, and of Sardinia 4000. A great portion of this 
latter is rugged and untranquil ; another large portion is fertile 
in every production, but particularly in wheat. There are many 
cities, some are considerable, as Caralis 5 and Sulchi. 6 There 
is however an evil, which must be set against the fertility of 
these places ; for during the summer the island is unhealthy, 
more particularly so in the most fertile districts ; in addition 
to this, it is often ravaged by the mountaineers, whom they 
call Diagesbes, 7 who formerly were named lolaenses. For it 
is said that lolaus 8 brought hither certain of the children of 
Hercules, and established himself amongst the barbarian pos- 

1 The testimony of Diodorus is just to the contrary. The Corsican slaves 
appear better fitted than any others for performing useful services ; their 
physical constitution being peculiarly adapted thereto. Diodor. Sic. 
1. v. 13. 

2 None of these names are found in Ptolemy's description of Corsica. 
Diodorus Siculus has names somewhat similar. 

3 It is uncertain to whom Strabo here alludes. The French translators 
are of opinion that he alludes to the chart of Agrippa. 

4 The French translators read with their manuscript 1394, Trtpt rpttr- 
XiXiovf, K. T. X., about 3200. 

5 Cagliari. 

6 Cluvier is of opinion that the modern Palma di Solo corresponds to 
Sulchi. 7 Some manuscripts read Diagebres. 

8 The nephew of Hercules, being the son of Iphiclus, his brother. 

334 STRABO. CASATJB. 225. 

sessors of the island, who were Tyrrhenians. Afterwards the 
Phoenicians of Carthage became masters of the island, and, 
"assisted by the inhabitants, carried on war against the Romans ; 
but after the subversion of the Carthaginians, the Romans 
became masters of the whole. There are four nations of moun- 
taineers, the Parati, Sossinati, Balari, and the Aconites. These 
people dwell in caverns. Although they have some arable 
land, they neglect its cultivation, preferring rather to plunder 
what they find cultivated by others, whether on the island or 
on the continent, where they make descents, especially upon 
the Pisatse. The prefects sent [into Sardinia] sometimes resist 
them, but at other times leave them alone, since it would cost 
too dear to maintain an army always on foot in an unhealthy 
place : they have, however, recourse to the arts of stratagem, 
and taking advantage of the custom of the barbarians, who 
always hold a great festival for several days after returning 
from a plundering expedition, they then fall upon them, and 
capture many. There are rams here which, instead of wool, 
have hair resembling that of a goat ; they are called musmones, 
and the inhabitants make corselets of their hides. They like- 
wise arm themselves with a pelta and a small sword. 

8. Along the whole coast between Poplonium and Pisa these 
islands are clearly visible ; they are oblong, and all three 
nearly parallel, 1 running towards the south and Libya. JEtha- 
lia is by far smaller than either of the other two. The 
chorographer says that the shortest passage from Libya to 
Sardinia is 300 2 miles. After Poplonium is the city of Cossae, 
situated at a short distance from the sea : there is at the head 
of the bay a high hill upon which it is built ; below it lies the 
port of Hercules, 3 and near to it a marsh formed by the sea. 4 
At the summit of the cape which commands the gulf is a look- 
out for thunnies ; for the thunny pursues his course along 
the coast, from the Atlantic Ocean as far as Sicily, in search 
not only of acorns, but also of the fish which furnishes the 
purple dye. As one sails along the coast from Cossse to Ostia 

1 That is, Corsica and Sardinia run in a line north and south, and Elba 
lies to one side ; the Trapa'XXqXoi <rx^ov at rptig is an example showing 
how happily a circumstance may be expressed in Greek, while no amount 
of labour will adapt an English equivalent. 

2 The real distance, according to Gosselin, is 1 1 5 miles. 

3 Porto Ercole. * The Stagno d'Orbitello. 

B. v. c. n. $ 9. ITALY. ETRURIA. 335 

there are the towns of Gravisci, 1 Pyrgi, 2 Alsium, 3 and Fre- 
gena. 4 [From Cossae] to Gravisci is a distance of 300 stadia, 
and between them is the place named Regis- Villa. This is said 
to have been the royal residence of Maleos the Pelasgian ; they 
report that after he had reigned here for some time, he de- 
parted with his Pelasgians to Athens. These were of the 
same tribe as those who occupied Agylla. From Gravisci to 
Pyrgi is a little less than 180 stadia, and the sea-port town 
of the Ca3retani is 30 stadia farther. [Pyrgi] contains a tem- 
ple of Ilethyia 5 founded by the Pelasgi, and which was for- 
merly rich, but it was plundered by Dionysius the tyrant of 
the Sicilians, at the time 6 of his voyage to Cyrnus. 7 From 
Pyrgi to Ostia is 260 stadia ; between the two are Alsium 
and Fregena. Such is our account of the coast of Tyrrhenia. 
9. In the interior of the country, besides the cities already 
mentioned, there are Arretium, 8 Perusia, 9 Volsinii, 10 Sutrium ; J1 
and in addition to theslTare numerous small cities, as Blera, 12 
Fejrentinum, 13 I]alerium, u Fj,liscum, 15 Nepita. 16 Statonia, 17 and 
many others ; some of which exist in their original state, others 
have been colonized by the Romans, or 'partially ruined by 
them in their~wars, viz. those they frequently waged against 
the Veii 18 and the Fidenae. 19 Some say that the inhabitants 
of Falerium are not Tyrrhenians, but Falisci, a distinct nation ; 
others state further, that the Falisci speak a language peculiar 
to themselves ; some again would make it ^Equum-Faliscum on 

1 Situated in the marshy plain commanded by the heights of Corneto, 
between the Mignone and the Marta. 

2 This town stood on the site of the present S. Severa, at the mouth 
of the Rio-Castrica. 

3 The ancient Alsium occupied the site of the place now called Statua ; 
below it are the vestiges of the Portus Alsiensis, at the embouchure of the 
Rio-Cupino, a little to the east of Palo. 4 Torre Macarese. 

5 The Roman Lucina, in later times identical with Diana. 

6 About the year 384 before the Christian era. 7 Corsica. 

8 Arezzo. 9 Perugia. 10 Bolsena. u Sutri. 12 Bieda. 

3 The French translation understands this to be the modern Ferenti, 
near Viterbo. 14 Sta. Maria di Falari. 

15 Probably another name for Falerium. I8 Nepi. 

17 Castro, or Farnese, near Lake Mezzano. 

8 This ancient city was probably situated near the Isola Farnesia, 
about the place where Storta now stands. 

19 Fidense was situated on the left bank of the Tiber, near its confluence 
with the Anio, now the Teverone, 40 stadia from Rome. The ruins are 
near the villages Giubileo and Serpentina. 


ia Flaminia, lying between Ocricli l and Rome. Below 
Mount Soracte 2 is the city of Feronia, having the same name 
as a certaingoddess of the country, highly reverenced by 
the surrounHmg people : here_is_hex_temle, in which a re- 
markable ceremony is performed, for those possessed by the 
divinity pass over a large bed of burmng^coal and ashes bare- 
foot, unhurt. A great concourse of people assemble to assist 
I at the festival, which is celebrated yearly, and to see the 
\ said spectacle. Arretium, 3 near the mountains, is the most 
"Inland city : it is distant from Rome 1200 stadia : from 
Clusium 4 [to Rome] is 800 stadia. Near to these [two cities] 
is Perusia. 5 The large and numerous lakes add to the fertility 
of this country, 6 they are navigable, and stocked with fish and 
aquatic birds. Large quantities of typha, 7 papyrus, and 
anthela 8 are transported to Rome, up the rivers which flow 
from these lakes to the Tiber. Among these are the lake 
Ciminius, 9 and those near the Volsinii, 10 and Clusium, 11 and 
Sabatus, 12 which is nearest to Rome and the sea, and the far- 
thest Trasumennus, 13 near Arretium. Along this is the pass by 
which armies can proceed from [Cisalpine] Keltica into Tyr- 
rhenia ; this is the one followed by Hannibal. There are two ; 
the other leads towards Ariminum across Ombrica, and is 
preferable as the mountains are considerably lower ; how- 
ever, as this was carefully guarded, Hannibal was com- 
pelled to take the more difficult, which he succeeded in 
forcing after having vanquished Flaminius in a decisive en- 
gagement. There are likewise in Tyrrhenia numerous hot 
springs, which on account of their proximity to Rome, are 
not less frequented than those of Baiae, which are the most 
famous of all. 

10. Ombrica lies along the eastern boundary of Tyrrhenia, 
and commencing from the Apennines, or rather beyond those 
mountains, [extends] as far as the Adriatic. For com- 

I Hodie Otricoli : the ancient town was situated nearer the Tiber than 
the modern. 2 Monte di S. Silvestro. 

3 Arezzo. * Chiusi. 5 Perugia. 6 Tyrrhenia. 

7 An aquatic plant, perhaps the Typha of Linnaeus, used in making 
lamp -wicks, and for other purposes to which tow was applied. 

8 The downy substance growing on the flowering reed. 

9 The Lago di Vico or di Ronciglione. 10 Lago di Bolsena. 

II Now only marshes. 12 Lago di Bracciano. 

13 All MSS. are corrupt at this word. It is now called Lago di Perugia. 

B. v. c. ii. 10. ITALY. UMBRIA. 337 

mencing from Ravenna, the Ombrici inhabit the neighbouring 
country together with the cities of Sarsina, Ariminum, 1 Sena, 2 
f and Marinum. f 3 To their country likewise belongs the river 
Esino, 4 Mount Cingulum, [the city of] Sentinum, 5 the river 
Metaurus, and the Fanum Fortunae ; 6 for about these parts 
are the boundaries which separate ancient Italy and [Cisalpine] 
Keltica on the side next the Adriatic, although the boundary 
has frequently been changed by the chief men of the state. First 
they made the Esino the boundary; afterwards the river Rubicon : 
the Esino being between Ancona and Sena, and the Rubicon 
between Ariminum and Ravenna, both of them falling into the 
Adriatic. At the present day, however, since Italy compre- 
hends the whole country as far as the Alps, we need take no 
further notice of these limits. All allow that Ombrica 7 extends 
as far as Ravenna, as the inhabitants are Ombrici. From 
Ravenna to Ariminum they say is about 300 stadia. Going 
from Ariminum to Rome by the Via Flaminia, the whole 
journey lies through Ombrica as far as the city of Ocricli 8 
and the Tiber, a distance of 1350 stadia. This, consequently, 
is the length [of Ombrica] ; its breadth varies. The cities of 
considerable magnitude situated on this side the Apennines 
along the Via Flaminia, are Ocricli on the Tiber, Laroloni, 9 
and Narnia, 10 through which the Nera n flows. This river dis- 
charges itself into the Tiber a little above Ocricli ; it is not 
navigable for large vessels. After these are Carsuli and 
Mevania, 12 past which latter the Teneas 13 flows, by which river 
the merchandise of the plain is transported in small vessels to 
the Tiber. There are also other cities well populated, rather 
on account of the route along which they lie, than for their 
political importance. Such are Forum Flaminium, 14 Nuceria 15 
where wooden vases are manufactured, and Forum Sempro- 
nium. 16 Going from Ocricli to Ariminum, on the right of the 

1 Rimini. - Sinigaglia. 

3 Apparently an interpolation ; vide Kramer's edition, vol. i. p. 358, n. 

4 The ^Esis. 5 Sentina. 6 Fano. 1 Umbria. 8 Otricoli. 

9 No such city as this is mentioned in any other writer; the word as 
it now stands is evidently corrupt. 

10 Narni. ll The ancient Nar. l2 Bevagna. 

13 Mevania stood at the junction of the Tinia (now Timia) and the 

14 Forfiamma, or Ponte-Centesimo, or the village of Vescia. 
, ls Nocera Camellaria. 16 Fosscmbruno. 

338 STRABO. CASAUB. 228. 

way are Interamna, 1 Spoletium, 2 Asisium, 3 and Camerta, 
situated in the mountains which bound Picenum. On the 
other side 4 are Ameria, 5 Tuder, 6 a well-fortified city, Hispel- 
lum, 7 and Iguvium, 8 near to the passes of the mountain. The 
whole of this country is fertile, but rather too mountainous, 
and producing more rye 9 than wheat for the food of the in- 
habitants. The next district, Sabina, is mountainous, and 
borders on Tyrrhenia in like manner. The parts of Latium 
which border on these districts and the Apennines are very 
rugged. These two nations 10 commence from the Tiber and 
Tyrrhenia, and extend as far as the Apennines which advance 
obliquely towards the Adriatic : Ombrica extends, as we have 
said, beyond as far as the sea. We have now sufficiently 
described the Ombrici. 


1. THE Sabini occupy a narrow country, its length from the 
Tiber and the small city of Nomentum 11 to the Vestini being 
1000 stadia. They have but few cities, and these have suffer- 
ed severely in their continual wars [with the Romans]. Such 
are Amiternum 12 and Reate, 13 which is near to the village of 
Interocrea 14 and the cold waters at Cotyliae, which are taken by 
patients, both as drink and as baths, for the cure of various 
maladies. The rocks of Foruli, 15 likewise, belong to the Sa- 
bini ; fitted rather for rebellion than peaceable habitation. 
Cures is now a small village, although formerly a famous city : 
whence came Titus Tatius and Numa Pompilius, kings of 
Rome. From this place is derived the name of Quirites, which 
the orators give to the Romans when they address the 
people. Trebula, 16 Eretum, 17 and other similar places, must 

I Terni. 2 Spbleto. 3 Between Spoleto and Camerino. 

4 The left side of the Via Flaminia. 5 Amelia. 6 Todi. 7 Hispello. 
8 Eugubbio, or Gubbio, where the celebrated inscriptions \vere found 
in 1440. 9 Zeid. 10 Sabina and Latium. 

II Probably Lamentana Vecchia. 

12 Groskurd considers this to be Amatrice. u Rieti. 

14 Interdoco, between Rieti and Aquila. 

15 Civita Tommassa, or rather Forcella. 

16 Monte Leone della Sabina. 17 Chaupy considers this to be Rimane. 

B. v. c. in. $ 2. ITALY. THE SABINI. LATIUM. 339 

be looked upon rather as villages than cities. The whole land 
[of Sabina] is singularly fertile in olive-trees and vines, it 
produces also many acorns, and besides has excellent cattle : 
the mules bred at Reate 1 are much celebrated. In one 
word, the whole of Italy is rich both in cattle and vegetable 
productions ; although certain articles may be finer in some 
districts than in others. The race of the Sabini is extremely 
ancient, they are Autochthones. The Picentini and Samnitae 
descend from them, as do the Leucani from these latter, and 
the Bruttii again from these. A proof of their antiquity may 
be found in the bravery and valour which they have main- 
tained till the present time. Fabius, 2 the historian, says that 
the Romans first knew what wealth was when they became 
masters of this nation. The Via Salaria, which however does 
not extend far, runs through their country : the Via Nomen- 
tana, which commences likewise at the Porta Collina, falls 
in with the Via Salaria near to Eretum, a village of Sabina 
lying above the Tiber. 

2. Beyond Sabina is Latium, wherein the city of Rome is 
situated. It comprises many places which formed no part of 
ancient Latium. For the JEqui, the Volsci, the Hernici, the 
aborigines around Rome, the Rutuli who possessed ancient 
Ardea, and many other nations, some larger, some smaller, 
formed so many separate states around Rome, when that city 
was first built. Some of these nations, who dwelt in villages, 
were governed by their own laws, and subjected to no com- 
mon tribe. They say 3 that JEneas, with his father Anchises 
and his child Ascanius, arrived at Laurentum, 4 near to Ostia 
and the bank of the Tiber, where he built a city about 24 
stadia above the sea. That Latinus, the king of the abor- 
igines who then dwelt on the site where Rome now stands, 
employed his forces to aid JEneas against the neighbouring 
Rutuli who inhabited Ardea, (now from Ardea to Rome is a 
distance of 160 stadia,) and having gained a victory, he built 
near to the spot a city, to which he gave the name of his 
daughter Lavinia. However, in a second battle, commenced 
by the Rutuli, Latinus fell, and .^Eneas, being conqueror, suc- 

J Rieti. 2 He flourished about 216 years before the Christian era. 

5 Gosselin calls our attention to the difference between Strabo's rela- 
tion of these, occurrences, and the events as commonly recounted by the 
Greek and Latin authors. * Near the spot now called Paterno. 

z 2 

340 STRABO. CASAUB. 229. 

ceeded this prince on the throne, and conferred on his subjects 
the name of Latini. After the death both of himself and his 
father, Ascanius founded Alba, 1 on Mount Albanus, 2 situated 
about the same distance from Rome as Ardea. Here the 
Romans and Latini conjointly offer sacrifice to Jupiter. The 
magistracy all assemble, and during the period of the solem- 
nity the government of the city is intrusted to some dis- 
tinguished youth. The facts related of Amulius and his 
brother Numitor, some of which are fictitious, while others 
approach nearer the truth, occurred four hundred years later. 
These two brothers, who were descended from Ascanius, suc- 
ceeded conjointly to the government of Alba, which extended 
as far as the Tiber. However, Amulius the younger, having 
expelled the elder, governed [alone]. Numitor had a son and 
a daughter ; the former Amulius treacherously murdered in 
the chase ; the latter, that she might remain childless, he made 
a priestess of Vesta, thus imposing virginity upon her. This 
[daughter] they name Rhea Silvia. Afterwards he discovered 
that she was pregnant, and when she had given birth to 
twins, he, out of respect to his brother, placed her in confine- 
ment, instead of putting her to death, and exposed the boys 
by the Tiber according to a national usage. According to 
the mythology, Mars was the father of these children, and 
when they were exposed they were discovered and suckled 
by a she-wolf. Faustulus, one of the swine-herds of the place, 
took and reared them up, and named one Romulus, the other 
Remus. (We must understand that Faustulus, who took them 
up and nourished them, was an influential man, and a subject 
of Amulius.) Having arrived at man's estate, they waged 
war upon Amulius and his sons ; and having slain them, 
restored the government to Numitor. They then returned 
home and founded Rome, in a locality selected rather through 
necessity than choice, as the site was neither fortified by 
nature, nor sufficiently large for a city of importance. In 
addition to this, the neighbourhood supplied no inhabitants ; 
for those who dwelt around, even though touching the very 
walls of the newly founded city, kept to themselves, and 

1 Cluvier placed the ancient Alba on the east shore of Lake Albano, 
about Palazzuolo. Holstenius thinks that it was on the southern shore, 
in the locality of Villa-Domitiana. The Abbe de Chaupy places it 
farther to the east of Monte Albano. 3 Monte Albano. 

R. v. c. in. 2. ITALY. LATIUM. 341 

would have nothing at all to do with the Albani. Collatia, 
Autemnae, Fidenre, Labicum, 1 and similar places are here 
alluded to, which then were small cities, but are now villages 
possessed by private individuals ; they are distant from Rome 
30 or 40 2 stadia, or rather more. Between the fifth and sixth 
mile-stone which marks the distance from Rome there is a 
place named Festi ; this they say was at that time the limit 
of the Roman territory, and at the present day, both here and 
in numerous other places which they consider to have been 
boundaries, the priests offer the sacrifice denominated Am- 
barvia. 3 They say that, at the time of the foundation [of the 

1 The sites of these places are much disputed. 

2 Kramer considers this 40 an interpolation. 

3 Usually Ambarvalia, sacrifices performed by the Fratres Arvales, 
who formed " a college or company of twelve in number, and were so call- 
ed, according to Varro, from offering public sacrifices for the fertility of the 
fields. That they were of extreme antiquity is proved by the legend 
which refers their institution to Romulus ; of whom it is said, that when 
his nurse, Acca Laurentia, lost one of her twelve sons, he allowed himself 
to be adopted by her in his place, and called himself and the remaining 
eleven Fratres Arvales. (Cell. vi. 7.) We also find a college called 
the Sodales Titii, and as the latter were confessedly of Sabine origin, and 
instituted for the purpose of keeping up the Sabine religious rites, (Tac. 
Ann. i. 53,) there is some reason for the supposition of Niebuhr, that 
these colleges corresponded one to the other the Fratres Arvales being 
connected with the Latin, and the Sodales Titii with the Sabine element of 
the Roman state ; just as there were two colleges of the Luperci, the 
Fabii and the Quinctilii, the former of whom seem to have belonged to 
the Sabines. 

The office of the Fratres Arvales was for life, and was not taken away 
even from an exile or captive. They wore, as a badge of office, a chaplet 
of ears of corn fastened on their heads with a white band. The number 
given on inscriptions varies, but it is never more than nine ; though, ac- 
cording to the legend and general belief, it amounted to twelve. One of 
their annual duties was to celebrate a three days' festival in honour of 

Dea Dia, supposed to be Ceres Of this the master of the college, 

appointed annually, gave public notice from the temple of Concord on the 
Capitol. On the first and last of these days, the college met at the house 
of their president, to make offerings to the Dea Dia ; on the second day 
they assembled in the grove of the same goddess, about five miles south 
of Rome, and there offered sacrifices for the fertility of the earth. An 
account of the different ceremonies of this festival is preserved in an 
inscription, which was written in the first year of the emperor Helioga- 
balus, (A. D. 218,) who was elected a member of the college under the 
name of M. Aurelius Antoninus Pius Felix. The same inscription con- 
tains a hymn, which appears to have been sung at the festival from the 
most ancient times. 

Besides this festival of the Dea Dia, the Fratres Arvales were required 

342 STRABO. CASAUB. 230. 

city], a dispute arose in which Remus lost his life. The city 
being built, Romulus assembled men from every quarter, and 
instituted for an asylum a grove between the citadel and the 
Capitol, to which whoever fled from the neighbouring states, 
he proclaimed as Roman citizens. Not having wives for these 
men, he appointed a horse-race in honour of Neptune, which 
is celebrated to this day. Numbers [of spectators] having 
assembled, particularly of the Sabini, he commanded that 
each of those who were in want of a wife, should carry off 
one of the assembled maidens. Titus Tatius, king of the 
Quirites, took up arms to avenge the insult, but made peace 
with Romulus on condition that their kingdoms should be 
united, and that they should divide the sovereignty between 

on various occasions under the emperors to make vows and offer up 
thanksgivings, an enumeration of which is given in Forcellini. Strabo 
indeed informs us that, in the reign of Tiberius, these priests performed 
sacrifices called the Ambarvalia at various places on the borders of the 
Ager Romanus, or original territory of Rome; and amongst others, at 
Festi. There is no boldness in supposing that this was a custom handed 
down from time immemorial ; and, moreover, that it was a duty of this 
priesthood to invoke a blessing upon the whole territory of Rome. It is 
proved by inscriptions that this college existed till the reign of the em- 
peror Gordian, or A. D. 325, and it is probable that it was not abolished 
till A. D. 400, together with the other colleges of the pagan priesthoods. 

The private Ambarvalia were certainly of a different nature to those 
mentioned by Strabo, and were so called from the victim hostia Ambar- 
valis that was slain on the occasion, being led three times round the 
corn-fields, before the sickle was put to the corn. This victim was ac- 
companied by a crowd of merry-makers, (choriis et socii,) the reapers and 
farm-servants, dancing and singing, as they marched along, the praises of 
Ceres, and praying for her favour and presence while they offered her the 
libations of milk, honey, and wine. (Virg. Georg. i. 338.) This cere- 
mony was also called a lustratio, (Virg. Eel. v. 83,) or purification ; and 
for a beautiful description of the holiday, and the prayers and vows made 
on the occasion, the reader is referred to Tibullus (ii. 1). It is perhaps 
worth while to remark that Polybius (iv. 21, 9) uses language almost 
applicable to the Roman Ambarvalia in speaking of the Mantineians, 
who, he says, (specifying the occasion,) made a purification, and carried 
victims round the city and all the country. 

There is, however, a still greater resemblance to the rites we have been 
describing, in the ceremonies of the Rogation or gang-week of the Latin 
church. These consisted of processions through the fields, accompanied 
with prayers (rogationes) for a blessing on the fruits of the earth, and 
were continued during three days in Whitsun-week. The custom was 
abolished at the Reformation in consequence of its abuses, and the peram- 
bulation of the parish boundaries substituted in its place. ( Vide Hooker, 
Eccl. Pol. v. 61, 2; Wheatley, Com. Pray. v. '20. Bohn's Standard 
Library edition.) 

B. v. c. in. 3, 4. ITALY. LATIUM. 343 

them. Tatius, however, was treacherously assassinated in 
Lavinium, upon which Romulus, with the consent of the 
Quirites, reigned alone. After him Numa Pompilius, formerly 
a subject of Tatius, assumed the government, by the general 
desire of the people. Such is the most authentic account of 
the foundation of Rome. 

3. However, there also exists another more ancient and 
mythical account, to the effect that Rome was an Arcadian 
colony planted by Evander. He entertained Hercules when 
driving the oxen of Geryon, and being informed by his 
mother Nicostrata, (who was skilled in the art of prophecy,) 
that when Hercules should have completed his labours it was 
fore-ordained that he should be enrolled amongst the gods ; 
he informed him of the matter, consecrated to him a grove, 
and offered sacrifice to him after the Grecian mode ; a sacri- 
fice which is continued in honour of Hercules to this day. 
The Roman historian Co3lius is of opinion that this is a proof 
that Rome is a Grecian colony, the sacrifice to Hercules after 
the Grecian mode having been brought over from their father- 
land. The Romans also worship the mother of Evander 
under the name of Carmentis, 1 considering her one of the 

4. Thus then the Latini originally were few in number, 
and for the most part under no subjection to the Romans; 
but afterwards, being struck by the valour of Romulus and 
the kings who succeeded him, they all submitted. But the 
jEqui, 2 the Volsci, the Hernici ; and before them the Rutuli, 
the aborigines, the Rhaeci, together with certain of the 

* The Camenae, says Dr. Smith, were prophetic nymphs, and belonged to 
the religion of ancient Italy, although later traditions represent them as 
having been introduced into Italy from Arcadia. Two of the Cam en se 
were Antevorta and Postvorta; the third was Carmenta or Carmentis, 
a prophetic and healing divinity, who had a temple at the foot of the 
Capitoline hill, and altars near the Porta Carmentalis. The traditions 
which assigned a Greek origin to her worship at Rome, state that her 
original name was Nicostrata, and that she was called Carmentis from her 
prophetic powers. (Serv. ad ^En. viii. 51, 336; Dionys. i. 15,32.) 
According to these traditions, she was the mother of Evander, the Arca- 
dian, by Hermes; and after having endeavoured to persuade her son to 
kill Hermes, she fled with him to Italy, where she gave oracles to the 
people and to Hercules. She was put to death by her son at the age of 
110 years, and then obtained divine honours. Dionys. i. 31, &c. 

2 This name is written in Strabo sometimes Ancoi, sometimes Afaovoi 
the Latin writers also named them differently, ^Equi, JEcani, ^Equicoli, &c] 

344 STRABO. CASAUB. 231. 

Argyrusci and the Preferni, 1 being subdued, the whole of 
their different countries were included under the name of 
Latium. To the Volsci pertained the Pomentine plain, 
bordering on the territory of the Latini, and the city of 
Apiola, levelled to the ground 2 by Tarquinius Priscus. The 
-ZEqui principally were neighbours to the Quirites, whose 
cities Tarquinius Priscus likewise devastated. His son took 
Suessa, 3 the metropolis of the Volsci. The Hernici dwelt 
near to Lanuvium, Alba, and to Rome itself; neither were 
Aricia, 4 the Tellenae, and Antium 5 at any great distance. 
The Albani were at first friendly with the Romans, speaking 
as they did the same language, and being likewise of the 
Latin stock ; and though they were under separate govern- 
ments, this did not prevent them from marrying together, 
nor from performing in common the sacred ceremonies at 
Alba, and other civil rites. In after-time, however, war 
having sprung up, Alba was entirely destroyed with the ex- 
ception of the temple, and the Albani were declared citizens 
of Rome. Of the other surrounding cities, those which 
resisted were either destroyed or enfeebled, while others, 
which were friendly to the Romans, flourished. At the pre- 
sent day the coast from Ostia to the city of Sinuessa 6 is 
denominated the Latin coast ; formerly the country thus 
designated extended only so far as Circasum. 7 The interior 
also [of Latium] was formerly small ; but it afterwards ex- 
tended to Campania, the Samnitas, the Peligni, 8 and other 
nations dwelling around the Apennines. 

5. The whole [of Latium] is fertile, and abounding in 
every production, with the exception of a few districts along 
the coast, which are marshy and unhealthy ; such as the 
country of Ardea, the lands between Antium and Lanuvium 
as far as Pometia, and certain of fhe districts of Setia, 9 
Terracina, and Circaeum. Some parts may also be too moun- 

1 Privernates of Pliny ; the chief city is now called Piperno. 

2 604 years u. c. 

3 Suessa surnamed Pometia, to distinguish it from Suessa Aurunca, is 
here alluded to. Its exact position does not appear to be known. 

4 La Riccia. 5 Capo d' Anzo. 6 Monte Dragone. 

7 Monte Circello. 

8 According to Cluvier, Strabo was mistaken in making Latium extend 
to the country of the Peligni, as these latter were always separated from 
Latium by the Marsi. 9 Sezza. 

B. T. c. in. 5. ITALY. G45 

tainous and rocky; but even these are not absolutely idle 
and useless, since they furnish abundant pasturage, wood, 
and the peculiar productions of the marsh and rock ; while 
Ccecubum, which is entirely marshy, nourishes a vine, the 
dendritis, 1 which produces the most excellent wine. Of the 
maritime cities of Latium, one is Ostia. This city has no port, 
owing to the accumulation of the alluvial deposit brought 
down by the Tiber, which is swelled by numerous rivers ; 
vessels therefore bring to anchor further out, but not without 
danger; however, gain overcomes every thing, for there is 
an abundance of lighters in readiness to freight and un- 
freight the larger ships, before they approach the mouth of 
the river, and thus enable them to perform their voyage 
speedily. Being lightened of a part of their cargo, they enter 
the river and sail up to Rome, a distance of about 190 stadia. 
Such is the city of Ostia, founded by Ancus Martius. Next 
in order comes Antium, which city is likewise destitute of 
any port ; it is situated on rocks, and about 260 stadia distant 
from Ostia. At the present clay it is devoted to the leisure 
and recreation of statesmen from their political duties, when- 
ever they can find time, and is in consequence covered with 
sumptuous mansions suited to such rusticating. The in- 
habitants of Antium had formerly a marine, and even after 
they were under subjection to the Romans, took part with the 
Tyrrhenian pirates. Of this, first, Alexander sent to com- 
plain; after him Demetrius, having taken many of these 
pirates, sent them to the Romans, saying that he would sur- 
render them their persons on account of their affinity to the 
Greeks, and remarking at the same time, that it seemed to 
him a great impropriety, that those who held sway over the 
whole of Italy should send out pirates, and that they who had 
consecrated in their forum a temple to the honour of the 
Dioscuri, 2 whom all denominated the Saviours, should like- 
wise send to commit acts of piracy on Greece, which was the 
father-land of those divinities. Hereupon the Romans put a 
stop to this occupation [piracy]. Between these two cities 
is Lavinium, which contains a temple of Venus common to all 
the Latini, the care of which is intrusted to the priests of 

1 The vine to which the term arbustive or hautain is applied, which 
the French translators explain as a vine trained from the foot of a tree. 
8 Castor and Pollux. 

346 STRABO. CASATJB. 232. 

Ardea. After this is Laurentum ; l and above these lies Ardea, 
a colony of the Rutuli, 70 stadia from the sea ; near to it 
is another temple of Venus, where all the Latini hold a public 
festival. These regions have been ravaged by the Samnitse, 
and only the traces of the cities left ; but even these are re- 
verenced on account of the arrival of ^Eneas here, and of the 
religious rites which they say were bequeathed from those 

6. At 290 stadia from Antium is Mount Circseum, insu- 
lated by the sea and marshes. They say that it contains 
numerous roots, but this perhaps is only to harmonize with' 
the myth relating to Circe. It has a small city, together with 
a temple to Circe and an altar to Minerva ; they likewise say 
that a cup is shown which belonged to Ulysses. Between 
[Antium and Circaeum] is the river Stura, 2 which has a 
station for ships : the rest of the coast is exposed to the south- 
west wind, 3 with the exception of this small harbour of Cir- 
caeum. 4 Above this, in the interior, is the Pomentine plain : 
the region next to this was formerly inhabited by the Ausoni- 
ans, who likewise possessed Campania : next after these the 
Osci, who also held part of Campania ; now, however, as we 
have remarked, the whole, as far as Sinuessa, belongs to the 
Latini. A peculiar fate has attended the Osci and Ausonians ; 
for although the Osci have ceased to exist as a distinct tribe, 
their dialect is extant among the Romans, dramatic and 
burlesque pieces composed in it being still represented at 
certain games which were instituted in ancient times. And 
as for the Ausonians, although they never have dwelt by the sea 
of Sicily, 5 it is named the Ausonian Sea. At 100 stadia 
from Circseum is Tarracina, formerly named Trachina, 6 on 
account of its ruggedness ; before it is a great marsh, formed by 
two rivers, the larger of which is called the Aufidus. 7 This is 
the first place where the Via Appia approaches the sea. This 

1 Near Paterno. 2 Storas, the Astura of Pliny. 3 Libs. 

4 Hodie, the Porto di Paula, connected with the Lake of S. Maria. 

5 This does not appear to be in accordance with the statement of 
Dionysius Halicarnassus and Pliny, that the Ausonians anciently pos- 
sessed the whole coast, from the Strait of Messina to the entrance of the 

6 Or mountainous. 

7 We should doubtless here read the Ufens, the modern Ufente. 

B. v. c. in. 6. ITALY. LATIUM. 347 

road is paved from Rome to Brundusium, 1 and has great 
traffic. Of the maritime cities, these alone are situated on 
it ; Tarracina, beyond it Formiae, 2 Minturnoe, 3 Sinuessa, 4 and 
towards its extremity Tarentum and Brundusium. Near to 
Tarracina, advancing in the direction of Rome, a canal runs 
by the side of the Via Appia, which is supplied at intervals 
by water from the marshes and rivers. Travellers generally 
sail up it by night, embarking in the evening, and landing in 
the morning to travel the rest of their journey by the way : 
however, during the day the passage boat is towed by mules. 5 
Beyond is Formias, founded by the Lacedaemonians, and 
formerly called Hormias, on account of its excellent port. Be- 
tween these [two cities], 6 is a gulf which they have named 
Caiata, 7 in fact all gulfs are called by the Lacedaemonians 
Caietae : some, however, sayfthat the gulf received this appella- 
tion from [Caieta], the nurse of jiEneas. From Tarracina 
to the promontory of Caiata is a length of 100 stadia. Here 8 
are opened vast caverns, which contain large and sumptuous 
mansions. From hence to Formiaa is a distance of 40 stadia. 
Between this city and Sinfoessa, at a distance of about 80 
stadia from each, is Minturnae. The river Liris, 9 formerly 
named the Clanis, flows through it. It descends from the 
Apennines, passes through the country of the Vescini, 10 and 
by the village of Fregellas, (formerly a famous city,) and so 
into a sacred grove situated below the city, and held in great 
veneration by the people of jS^inturnaa. There are two islands, 
named Pandataria and Pontfa, 11 lying in the high sea, and 
clearly discernible from the! caverns. Although small, they 
are well inhabited, are not) at any great distance from each 
other, and at 250 stadia from the mainland. Caecubum is 
situated on the gulf of Cajata, and next to it Fundi, a city 
on the Via Appia. All these places produce excellent wines ; 
but those of Cascubum, Fund\, and Setia 12 are most in repute, 
and so are theFalernian, Alban, 13 and Statanian wines. Sinuessa 
is situated in a gulf from which it takes its name, sinus signify- 

1 BptvTeffiov, now Brindes. 3 Mola di Gaeta. 

3 The ruins of this town are extant on either bank of the Garigliano, 
the ancient Liris. 4 Rocca di Monte Dragone. 

5 Compare Horace, Satir. 1. i. sat. 5. 6 Tarracina and Formiae. 

7 Giii-ta. 8 At Sperlunga. The Garigliano. 

10 Vestini, MSS. " Ponza. 

12 Sezza. The French translators think this should be Vescia. IS Albano. 

348 SIR ABO. 

ing [in Latin] a gulf. Near to it are some fine hot-baths, 
good for the cure of various maladies. Such are the mari- 
time cities of Latium. 

7. In the interior, the first city above Ostia is Rome ; it is 
the only city built on the Tiber. It has been remarked above, 
that its position was fixed, not by choice, but necessity ; to 
this must be added, that those who afterwards enlarged it, 
were not at liberty to select a better site, being prevented by 
what was already built. The first [kings] fortified the 
Capitol, the Palatium, and the Collis Quirinalis, which was so 
easy of access, that when Titus Tatius came to avenge the 
rape of the [Sabine] virgins, he took it on the first assault. 
Ancus Marcius, who added Mount Caelius and the Aventine 
Mount with the intermediate plain, separated as these places 
were both from each other and from what had been formerly 
fortified, was compelled to do this of necessity ; since he did 
not consider it proper to leave outside his walls, heights so 
well protected by nature, to whomsoever might have a mind 
to fortify themselves upon them, while at the same time he 
was not capable of enclosing the whole as far as Mount Quiri- 
nus. Servius perceived this defect, and added the Esquiline 
and Viminal hills. As these were both of easy access from 
without, a deep trench was dug outside them and the earth 
thrown up on the inside, thus forming a terrace of 6 stadia 
in length along the inner side of the trench. This terrace he 
surmounted with a wall flanked with towers, and extending 
from the Colline 1 to the Esquiline gate. Midway along the 
terrace is a third gate, named after the Viminal hill. Such is 
the Roman rampart, which seems to stand in need of other 
ramparts itself. But it seems to me that the first [founders] 
were of opinion, both in regard to themselves and their suc- 
cessors, that Romans had to depend not on fortifications, but 
on arms and their individual valour, both for safety and 
-for wealth, and that walls were not a defence to men, but men 
were a defence to walls. At the period of its commencement, 
when the large and fertile districts surrounding the city be- 
longed to others, and while it lay easily open to assault, there 
was nothing in its position which could be looked upon as 
favourable; but when by valour and labour these districts 
became its own, there succeeded a tide of prosperity surpass- 
1 Called also the Quirinal, and often Salara, according to Ovid. 


ing the advantages of every other place. Thus, notwith- 
standing the prodigious increase of the city, there has been 
plenty of food, and also of wood and stone for ceaseless build- 
ing, rendered necessary by the falling down of houses, and 
on account of conflagrations, and of the sales, which seem never 
to cease. These sales are a kind of voluntary falling down of 
houses, each owner knocking down and rebuilding one part or 
another, according to his individual taste. For these purposes 
the numerous quarries, the forests, and the rivers which con- 
vey the materials, offer wonderful facilities. Of these rivers, 
the first is the Teverone, 1 which flows from Alba, a city of 
the Latins near to the country of the Marsi, and from thence 
through the plain -below this [city], till it unites with the 
Tiber. After this come the Ner* 5 and the Timia, 3 which 
passing through Onibrica fall into the Tiber, and the Chiana, 4 
which flows through Tyrrhenia and the territory of Clusiuin. 5 
Augustus Caesar endeavoured to avert from the city damages 
of the kind alluded to, and instituted a company of freedmen, 
who should be ready to lend their assistance in cases of con- 
flagration ; 6 whilst, as a preventive against the falling of houses, 
he decreed that all new buildings should not be carried so 
high as formerly, and that those erected along the public 
ways should not exceed seventy feet in height. 7 But these 
improvements must have ceased only for the facilities afforded 
by the quarries, the forests, and the ease of transport. 

8. These advantages accrued to the city from the nature of 
the country ; but the foresight of the Romans added others 

1 Anio. 2 The Nar. 3 The Teneas of Strabo. 

4 o KXovif , there were other rivers called Clanis as well as this. 

5 Chiusi. 

6 Suetonius likewise mentions this fact. Dion Cassius informs us that 
Augustus, in the year of Rome 732, and twenty-two years before our 
era, commanded that the curule ffidiles should promptly endeavour to 
arrest the progress of conflagrations, and for this purpose placed at their 
disposal 600 guards. Fifteen years afterwards he established a company 
of seven freedmen, presided over by one of the equestrian order, to see 
what means could be taken in order to prevent these numerous fires. 
Augustus, however, was not the first to take precautions of this nature, 
as we may learn from Livy, 1. ix. 46; 1. xxxix. 14; Tacit. Annal. 1. 
xv. $ 43, and various other authorities. 

7 Subsequent emperors reduced this standard still lower. See what 
Tacitus says of Nero in regard to this point, Annal. 1. xv. 43. Trajan 
forbade that any house should be constructed above 60 feet in height. 
Sextus Aurelius Victor, Epit. 27. 

350 STRABO. CASAUB. 235. 

besides. The Grecian cities are thought to have flourished 
mainly on account of the felicitous choice made by their found- 
ers, in regard to the beauty and strength of their sites, their 
proximity to some port, and the fineness of the country. But 
the Roman prudence was more particularly employed on 
matters which had received but little attention from the 
Greeks, such as paving their roads, constructing aqueducts, 
and sewers, to convey the sewage of the city into the Tiber. 
In fact, they have paved the roads, cut through hills, and 
filled up valleys, so that the merchandise may be conveyed by 
carriage from the ports. The sewers, arched over with hewn 
stones, are large enough in some parts for waggons loaded 
with hay to pass through ; while so plentiful is the supply 
of water from the aqueducts, that rivers may be said to flow 
through the city and the sewers, and almost every house 
is furnished with water-pipes and copious fountains. To 
effect which Marcus Agrippa directed his special attention ; 
he likewise bestowed upon the city numerous ornaments. We 
may remark, that the ancients, occupied with greater and more 
necessary concerns, paid but little attention to the beauti- 
fying of Rome. But their successors, and especially those of 
our own day, without neglecting these things, have at the 
same time embellished the city with numerous and splendid 
objects. Pompey, divus Caesar, and Augustus, with his chil- 
dren, friends, wife, and sister, have surpassed all others in their 
zeal and munificence in these decorations. The greater num- 
ber of these may be seen in the Campus Martius, which to the 
beauties of nature adds those of art. The size of the plain is mar- 
vellous, permitting chariot-races and other feats of horseman- 
ship without impediment, and multitudes to exercise themselves 
at ball, 1 in the circus 2 and the palsestra. The structures which 
surround it, the turf covered with herbage all the year round, 

1 There were five modes of playing at ball ; ] . Throwing it up and 
catching it ; 2. Foot-ball ; 3. A throwing of the ball from one to another 
in a large party of players ; 4. A dashing of the ball to the ground 
with force enough to rebound, when it was struck down again with the 
palm of the hand, and a reckoning was kept of the number of times the 
feat was repeated ; and 5. A ball thrown among the players, who all en- 
deavoured to obtain possession of it ; this was a game of which we have 
no accurate account, it was called apTraarbv, and Galen speaks of it, 
TTfpt /jucpac or^aipaf, c. 2, p. 902, 

2 Coray proposes to read didcy. at quoits. 

B. v. c. in. 9. ITALY. LATIUM. ROME. 351 

the summits of the hills beyond the Tiber, extending from its 
banks with panoramic effect, present a spectacle which the 
eye abandons with regret. Near to this plain is another sur- 
rounded with columns, sacred groves, three theatres, an 
amphitheatre, and superb temples in close contiguity to each 
other ; and so magnificent, that it would seem idle to describe 
the rest of the city after it. For this cause the Romans, esteem- 
ing it as the most sacred place, have there erected funeral monu- 
ments to the most illustrious persons of either sex. The most 
remarkable of these is that designated as the Mausoleum, 1 
which consists of a mound of earth raised upon a high founda- 
tion of white marble, situated near the river, and covered to 
the top with ever-green shrubs. Upon the summit is a bronze 
statue of Augustus Caesar, and beneath the mound are the 
ashes 2 of himself, his relatives, and friends. Behind is a large 
grove containing charming promenades. In the centre of the 
plain, 3 is the spot where this prince was reduced to ashes ; it 
is surrounded with a double enclosure, one of marble, the 
other of iron, and planted within with poplars. If from hence 
you proceed to visit the ancient forum, which is equally filled 
with basilicas, porticos, and temples, you will there behold the 
Capitol, the Palatium, with the noble works which adorn them, 
and the piazza of Livia, each successive place causing you 
speedily to forget what you have before seen. Such is Rome. 
9. Of the other cities of Latium., some are distinguished by 
a variety of remarkable objects, others by the celebrated roads 
which intersect Latium, being situated either upon, or near 
to, or between these roads, the most celebrated of which are 
the Via Appia, the Via Latina, and the Via Valeria. The 
former of these bounds the maritime portion of Latium, as 
far as Sinuessa, the latter extends along Sabina as far as the 
Marsi, whilst between these is the Via Latina, which falls in 
with the Via Appia near to Casilinum, 4 a city distant from 
Capua 5 19 stadia. The Via Latina commences from the 
Via Appia, branching from it towards the left, near to Rome. 
It passes over the Tusculan mountain, between the city of 
Tusculum 6 and Mount Albanus ; it then descends to the little 
city of Algidum, 7 and the Pictae tavern ; afterwards the Via 

' The tomb of Augustus. 2 Qrjicai, urns, Greek. 

3 The Campus Martius. 4 The modern Capua. 

5 S. Maria di Capoa. 6 Tuscolo. " L'Osteria deli' Aglio. 

352 STRABO. CASAUB. 237. 

Lavicana joins it, which commences, like the Via Praenestina, 
from the Esquiline gate. This road, as well as the Esquiline 
plain, the Via Lavicana leaves on the left ; it then proceeds a 
distance of 120 stadia, or more, when it approaches Lavi- 
cum, an ancient city now in ruins, situated on an eminence ; 
this and Tusculum it leaves on the right, and terminates near 
to Pictas in the Via Latina. This place is 210 stadia distant 
from Home. Proceeding thence along the Via Latina there 
are noble residences, and the cities Ferentinum, 1 Frusino, 2 
by which the river Cosa flows, Fabrateria, 3 by which flows 
the river Sacco, 4 Aquinum, 5 a large city, by which flows the 
great river Melfa, 6 Interamnium, situated at the confluence 
of two rivers, the Garigliano and another, Casinum, also an im- 
portant city, and the last of those belonging to Latium. For 
Teanum, called Sidicinum, 7 which lies next in order, shows 
by its name that it belongs to the nation of the Sidicini. 
These people are Osci, a surviving nation of the Campani, so 
that this city, which is the largest of those situated upon the Via 
Latina, may be said to be Campanian ; as well as that of 
Gales, 8 another considerable city which lies beyond, and is 
contiguous to Casilinum. 9 

10. As to the places situated on either side of the Via 
Latina, those on the right are between it and the Via Appia ; 
of their number are Setia 10 and Signia, 11 which produce wine, 
that of Setia being one of the dearest wines, and that called 
Signium the best for strengthening the stomach. Before this 12 
are Privernum, 13 Cora, 14 Suessa, 15 'Trapontium/ 16 Velitrge, 17 
Aletrium, 18 and also Fregellee, 19 by which the Garigliano flows, 
which discharges itself [into the sea] near Minturnre. Fre- 
gellae, though now a village, was formerly a considerable city, 
and the chief of the surrounding places we have just named. 
Even now their inhabitants throng to it on market days, and 

1 Ferentino, near to Vitorchiano. 2 Frusinone. 

3 Falvaterra. 4 Trerus. 5 Aquino. 6 Melpis. 7 Teano. 

8 Calvi. 9 Nova Capua. 10 Sezza. n Segni. 

12 ?rpo # rail-rig. It seems doubtful whether TaurrjQ refers to Signia, 
or the Via Appia. 13 This city was sacked by the last Tarquin. 

14 Core. 15 Probably Torre Petrara. 

16 Kramer supposes this name to be an interpolation ; the idea of 
Cluvier, adopted by Siebenkees and Coray, is that we should here read 
Zovlova rCjv HwfjitvTivdJV, Suessa Pometia. 

'' Vellctri. 18 Alatri. 1D Ceperano. 

B. v. c. in. 11. ITALY. LATIUM. 353 

for the performance of certain religious solemnities. Its de- 
fection from the Romans was the cause of its ruin. 1 Both 
these, and also the cities lying on the Via Latina and beyond, 
situated in the territories of the Hernici, JEqui, and Volsci, 
were for the most part founded by the Romans. To the left 
of the Via Latina, the cities between it and the Via Valeria, 
are, Gabii, 2 standing in the Via Prsenestina, it possesses a 
stone-quarry, in greater demand at Rome than any other, and 
is at an equal distance of about 100 stadia between Rome and 
Praeneste. 3 Then Praeneste, of which we shall have occasion 
presently to speak. Then, in the mountains above Prasneste, 
Capitulum, a small city of the Hernici, and Anagnia, 4 a con- 
siderable city ; Cereate, 5 and Sora, by which the river Garig- 
liano 6 flows as it passes on toFregelhe, and Minturnas. After 
these there are other places, and finally, Venafrum, 7 from 
whence comes the finest oil. This city is situated on a high 
hill by the foot of which flows the Volturno, 8 which passing by 
Casilinum, 9 discharges itself [into the sea] at a city 10 bearing 
the same name as itself. JEsernia 11 and Alliphas, 12 cities of 
the Samnites, the former was destroyed in the Marsian war, 13 
the other still remains. 

11. The Via Valeria, commencing from Tibura, 14 leads to 
the country of the Marsi, and to Corfinium, 15 the metropolis 
of the Peligni. Upon it are situated the Latin cities of Va- 
leria, 16 Carseoli, 17 Alba, 18 and near to it the city of Cuculum. 19 
Within sight of Rome are Tibura, Prseneste, and Tusculum. 20 
At Tibura is a tern pie of Hercules, and a cataract formed by the 
fall of the Teverone, 21 (which is here navigable,) from a great 
height into a deep and wooded ravine close to the city. From 
thence the river flows through a highly fertile plain along by 

1 125, B. c. 

2 Now called 1' Osteria del Pantano, situated very near the Castel dell' 
Osa, and close by the lake Pantan de' Griffi. 3 Palestrina. * Anagni. 

5 Cerretano. 6 Liris. 7 Venafro. 8 Vulturnus. 9 Capua. 
10 Castel di Volturno. " Isernia. 12 Allife. 13 90 years B c. u Tivoli. 

15 The modern Pentima is supposed to occupy the site where the cita- 
del of Corfinium stood, and the church of S. Pelino, about three miles 
from Popoli, stands on that of the ancient city of Corfinium. 

16 We read with all MSS. and editions, Valeria, but Kramer, following 
the conjectures of Cluvier and others, has adopted Varia in his text, 

17 Carsoli. 18 Albi. 

19 Groskurd considers this to be Cucullo, alias Scutolo. 

20 II Tuscolo, above the modern town of Frascati. 21 The classic Artio. 

VOL. I. 2 A 

354 STRABO. CASAUB. 238. 

the Tiburtine stone-quarries, those of the Gabii, and those 
denominated the red-stone quarries. As both the carriage 
from the quarries and the conveyance by river, are easy, 
most of the Roman edifices are built of materials from hence. 
In this plain flow the cold waters called Albula, they spring 
from numerous fountains, and are taken both as a beverage and 
as baths, 1 for the cure of various diseases. Of the same kind 
are the LabanaB, 2 not far from these, on the Via Nomentana, 
and near to Eretum. 3 At PraBneste is the celebrated temple 
and oracle of Fortune. Both this and the preceding city are 
situated on the same chain of mountains, and are distant from 
each other 100 stadia. Prseneste is 200 stadia from Rome, 
Tibura less than that distance. They are said to be both 
of Grecian foundation, Praeneste being formerly named Poly- 
stephanus. They are both fortified, but Praeneste is the 
stronger place of the two, having for its citadel a lofty moun- 
tain, which overhangs the town, and is divided at the back 
from the adjoining mountain range by a neck of land. This 
mountain is two stadia higher than the neck in direct altitude. 
In addition to these [natural] defences, the city is furnished 
on all sides with subterraneous passages, which extend to the 
plains, and some of which serve to convey water, while others 
form secret ways ; it was in one of these that Marius 4 perished, 
when he was besieged. Other cities are in most instances 
benefited by a strong position, but to the people of Prabneste 
it has proved a bane, owing to the civil wars of the Romans. 

The waters from the sulphur-lake ; named the Solfatara di Tivoli. 

2 Now the Lago di S. Giovanni, or Bagni di Grotta Marozza. 

3 Prob. Cretona, not Monte Rotondo. 

4 The younger Marius being entirely defeated by Sulla in the decisive 
battle fought near Sacriportus, B. c. 82, Marius threw himself into Prae- 
neste, where he had deposited the treasures of the Capitoline temple. 
(Pliny H. N. 1. xxxiii. s. 5.) Sulla left Lucretius Opella to prosecute 
the siege while he hastened on to Rome. Various efforts were made to 
relieve Praeneste, but they all failed ; and after Sulla's great victory at 
the Colline gate of Rome, in which Pontius Telesinus was defeated and 
slain, Marius despaired of holding out any longer, and in company with 
the brother of Telesinus attempted to escape by a subterraneous passage, 
which led from the town into the open country ; but finding that their 
flight was discovered, they put an end to one another's lives. According 
to other accounts, Marius killed himself, or was killed by his slave at his 
own request. Marius perished in the year of his consulship. Sniith, 
D.ict. Biogr. and Myth. 

B. v. c. in. 12. ITALY. LATIUM. 355 

For hither the revolutionary movers take refuge, and when 
at lust they surrender, in addition to the injury sustained by 
the city during the war, the country is confiscated, and the 
guilt thus imputed to the guiltless. The river Verestis 1 
flows through this region. The said cities are to the east of 

12. But within-side the chain of mountains, [where these 
cities are situated,] there is another ridge, leaving a valley be- 
tween it and Mount Algidus ; it is lofty, and extends as far as 
Mount Albanus. 2 It is on this ridge that Tusculum is situated, 
a city which is not wanting in adornment, being entirely sur- 
rounded by ornamental plantations and edifices, particularly 
that part of it which looks towards Rome. For on this side 
Tusculum presents a fertile hill, well irrigated, and with 
numerous gentle slopes embellished with majestic palaces. 
Contiguous are the undulating slopes of Mount Albanus, 
which are equally fertile and ornamented. Beyond are plains 
which extend some of them to Rome and its environs, others 
to the sea ; these latter are unhealthy, but the others are 
salubrious and well cultivated. Next after Albanum is the 
city Aricia, on the Appian Way. It is 160 stadia from 
Rome. This place is situated in a hollow, and has a strong 
citadel. 3 Beyond it on one side of the way is Lanuvium, 4 a 
Roman city on the right of the Via Appia, and from which 
both the sea and Antium may be viewed. On the other side 
is the Artemisium, 5 which is called Nemus, 6 on the left side 
of the way, leading from Aricia to the temple. 7 They say 
that it is consecrated to Diana Taurica, and certainly the rites 
performed in this temple are something barbarous and Scythic. 
They appoint as priest a fugitive who has murdered the pre- 
ceding priest with his own hand. Apprehensive of an attack 
upon himself, the priest is always armed with a sword, ready 
for resistance. The temple is in a grove, and before it is a 

1 The Abbe Chaupy is inclined to think that this was a name given to 
the part nearest the source of the river which Strabo, 9, calls the Trerus, 
but Kramer thinks it was originally written 6 Tpjjpoc, and corrupted by 
the copyists. 2 Monte Cavo. 

3 We have translated literally tx tl $' vpuq ipv/jivfiv aicpav, but it is 
possible that Strabo may have meant that the citadel was built on a 
height above the town ; if so the citadel would occupy the site of la Riccia. 

4 Civita Lavinia, or, Citta della Vigna. 5 Or Grove of Diana. 
6 Nemus Arieiae. 7 The text here appears to be mutilated. 

2 A 2 

356 STRABO. CASAUB. 240. 

lake of considerable size. The temple and water are sur- 
rounded by abrupt and lofty precipices, so that they seem to 
be situated in a deep and hollow ravine. The springs by 
which the lake is filled are visible. One of these is denomi- 
nated Egeria, after the name of a certain divinity ; however, 
their course on leaving the lake is subterraneous, but they 
may be observed at some distance, when they rise to the 
surface of the ground. 

13. Near to these localities is Mount Albanus, 1 which is 
much higher than either the Artemisium or the heights sur- 
rounding it, although these are sufficiently lofty and precipit- 
ous. It has likewise a lake, 2 much larger than that of the 
Artemisium. Further forward than these are the cities on 
the Via Latina, we have already mentioned. Alba 3 is 
the most inland of all the Latin cities ; it borders on 
the Marsi, and is situated on a high hill near to Lake 
Fucinus. This [lake] is vast as a sea, and is of great 
service to the Marsi and all the surrounding nations. They 
say, that at times its waters rise to the height of the moun- 
tains which surround it, and at others subside so much, that 
the places which had been covered with water reappear and 
may be cultivated; however, the subsidings of the waters 
occur irregularly and without previous warning, and are fol- 
lowed by their rising again ; the springs fail altogether and 
gush out again after a time ; as they say is the case with 
the Amenanus, 4 which flows through Catana, 5 for after re- 
maining dry for a number of years, it again flows. It is 
reported that the Marcian 6 water, which is drunk at Rome in 
preference to any other, has its source in [Lake] Fucinus. 
As Alba is situated in the depths of the country, and is be- 
sides a strong position, the Romans have often employed it as 
a place of security, for lodging important prisoners. 7 

1 Monte Cavo. 8 The Lago d'Albano. 

3 Alba Fucensis is here intended : hod. Albi. 

4 The Judicello. 5 Catania, in Sicily. 

6 See Pliny in reference to the Aqua Marcia, Hist. Nat. 1. xxxi. 24, 
also 1. ii. 106. 

7 It served successively as a place of confinement for the kings Sy- 
phax, Perseus, and Bituitus. 

n. v. c. iv. $ 1, 2. ITALY. PICENUM. 357 


1. AFTER having commenced with the nations about the 
Alps, and the Apennine mountains which are near to these, 
we proceeded from thence and passed through that portion of 
the hither country lying between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the 
Apennine mountains, which incline towards the Adriatic, as 
far as the Samnites and the Campani. We will now return 
again, and describe the mountaineers, and those who dwell at 
the foot of the mountains ; whether on the coast of the Adriatic, 
or in the interior. Thus, we must recommence from the 
boundaries of Keltica. 1 

2. After the cities of the Ombrici, which are comprised be- 
tween Ariminum 2 and Ancona, comes Picenum. The Picentini 
proceeded originally from the land of the Sabini. A woodpecker 
led the way for their chieftains, and from this bird they have 
taken their name, it being called in their language Picus, and is 
regarded as sacred to Mars. They inhabit the plains extending 
from the mountains to the sea ; the length of their country 
considerably exceeds its breadth ; the soil is every where 
good, but better fitted for the cultivation of fruits than grain. 
Its breadth, from the mountains to the sea varies in different 
parts. But its length ; from the river ^Esis 3 to Castrum, 4 
sailing round the coast, is 800 stadia. Of its cities, Ancona 
is of Grecian origin, having been founded by the Syracusans 
who fled from the tyranny of Dionysius. It is situated upon 
a cape, which bending round towards the north forms a har- 
bour ; and it abounds in wine and wheat. Near to it is the 
city of Auxumon, 5 at a little distance from the sea. After it 
are Septempeda, 6 Pneuentia, 7 Potentia, 8 and Firmum Pice- 
num, 9 with its port of Castellum. 10 Beyond, is the temple of 
Cupra, 11 built and dedicated by the Tyrrheni to Juno, who is 
named by them Cupra; and after it the river Tronto, 12 

I Cisalpine Gaul. 2 Rimini. 

3 The Fiumesino. 4 Giulia Nova. 5 Osimo. e S. Severino. 

7 Probably for Pollentia, on the Chiento, opposite Urbisaglia. 

8 Ruins, on the river Potenza, near to Porto di Recanati. 

9 Fermo. 10 Porto di Fermo. 

II Near to the river Monecchia, not far from Marano. 12 Truentum. 

358 STRABO. CASAUB. 241. 

with a city of the same name. 1 Beyond this is Castrum 
Novum, 2 and the river Piomba, 3 flowing from the city of 
Adria, 4 and having [at its mouth] the naval station of Adria, 
which bears the same name as itself. In the interior is [the 
city of Adria] itself and Asculum Picenum, 5 a very strong 
position, upon which is built a wall : the mountains which sur- 
round it are not accessible to armies. 6 Above Picenum are 
the Vestini, 7 the Marsi, 8 the Peligni, 9 the Marucini, 10 and the 
Frentani, 11 a Samnitic nation possessing the hill-country, and 
extending almost to the sea. All these nations are small, but 
extremely brave, and have frequently given the Romans 
proofs of their valour, first as enemies, afterwards as allies ; 
and finally, having demanded the liberty and rights of citizens, 
and being denied, they revolted and kindled the Marsian war. 12 
They decreed that Corfinium, 13 the metropolis of the Peligni, 
should be the capital for all the Italians instead of Rome : made 
it their place d'armes, and new-named it Italica. Then, having 
convoked deputies from all the people friendly to their design, 
they created consuls 14 and praetors, and maintained the war 
for two 15 years, until they had obtained the rights for which 
they struggled. The war was named the Marsian 1G war, be- 

1 The position of this city is still disputed, it has been identified with 
Porto d'Ascoli, Torre di Seguro, and other places. 

2 Giulia Nova. * Matrinus. 4 Atri. 
5 Ascoli. 6 The text is here defective. 

7 The Vestini appear to have occupied the region where at present 
Aquila, Ofena, Civita Aquana, Civita di Penna, Civita di St. Angelo, 
and Pescara are situated. 

8 They inhabited the canton in which are built Tagliacozzo, Scurcola, 
Albi, Celano, Pescina, and the environs of Lake Celano. 

* Inhabited the territories of Sulmona, Pentima, and Popolo. 

10 Occupied the district of Tieti or Chieti. 

11 Inhabited the right bank of the Sangro, the territory of Guasto, the 
banks of the Trigno and Biferno, the district of Larino, the left bank of 
the Fortore, and extended north-west t,owards Pescara. 

2 91 B. c. 13 Pentima near Popoli. 

14 The first consuls were Q. Pompaedius Silo, and C. Aponius Mutilus ; 
the praetors were Herius Asinius for the Marucini, C. Veltius Cato for the 
Marsi, M. Lamponius and T. Cleptius for the Leucani, Marius Egnatius 
Trebatius and Pontius Telesinus for the Samnites, C. Judacilius for the 
Apuli or Picentini, and A. Cluentius for the Peligni. "Many other officers 
besides these distinguished themselves in the several campaigns of the 
Marsian war. 

15 A note in the French translation would make the duration of the 
Marsian war twelve years. 

16 Diodorus Siculus agrees with Strabo, in asserting that this war was 

B. v. c. iv. $ 2. ITALY. PICENUM. MAKSI. 359 

cause that nation commenced the insurrection, and particularly 
on account of Pompasdius. 1 These nations live generally in 
villages, nevertheless they are possessed of certain cities, some 
of which are at some little distance from the sea, as Cor- 
finium, Sulmo, 2 Maruvium, 3 and Teatea 4 the metropolis of 
the Marrucini. Others are on the coast, as Aternum 5 on the 
Picentine boundary, so named from the river [Aternus], 
which separates the Vestini from the Marrucini. This river 
flows from the territory of Amiternum and through the Ves- 
tini, leaving on its right the Marrucini, who lie above the 
Peligni, [at the place where the river] is crossed by a bridge. 
The city, which bears the same name, (viz. Aternum,) be- 
longs to the Vestini, but its port is used in common both by 
the Peligni and the Marrucini. The bridge I have men- 
tioned is about 24 stadia from Corfinium. After Aternum is 
Orton, 6 a naval arsenal of the Frentani, and Buca, 7 which be- 
longs to the same people, and is conterminous with the Apulian 
Teanum. 8 fOrtonium 9 is situated in the territory of the 
Frentani. It is rocky, and inhabited by banditti, who con- 
struct their dwellings of the wrecks of ships, and lead other- 
called Marsian, because it had been commenced by the Marsi, 'Qvo/ta<r0a 
<$g tj)T]<Tt Mapaticov [i. e. TroXtpov] IK TWV ap^avTwv TTJQ aTroaraffeuQ . 
however, Velleius Paterculus asserts that the people of Asculum com- 
menced the war, which was continued by the Marsi ; and Livy (Epit. 
lib. Ixxii.) makes the Picentini the first to raise the standard of revolt. 
1 Quintus PompaBdius Silo. 

* Now Sulmona, about seven miles south-east of Corfinium. It was the 
birth-place of Ovid. 

Sulmo mihi patria est gelidis uberrimus undis. Ovid. Trist. iv. El. 9. 
Marruvium, veteris celebratum nomine Marri, 
Urbibus est illis caput. Sil. Ital. viii. 507. 

We must place this city, with Holstenius, at San Benedetto, on the east- 
ern shore of the lake, where inscriptions have been found which leave no 
doubt on the subject. The coins of Marruvium have MARUB on the 
reverse and a head of Pluto. 

* Now Chieti, on the right bank of the Pescara. The family of Asinius 
Pollio came originally from this place. 

* Pescara. 6 Ortona-a-Mare. 

7 Romanelli, (torn. iii. p. 40,) founding his opinion on ancient ecclesias- 
tical records and the reports of local antiquaries, informs us that the ruins 
of Buca exist at the present Penna. 

8 According to Holstenius and Romanelli, Civitate; according to 
others, Ponte Rotto. 

9 Kramer is of opinion that this passage, from "Ortonium" to " life," 
is an interpolation posterior to the age of Strabo. 


wise a savage life, f Between Orton and Aternum is the rivsr 
Sagrus, 1 which separates the Frentani from the Peligni. From 
Picenum to the Apuli, named by the Greeks the Daunii, 2 
sailing round the coast, is a distance of about 490 3 stadia. 

3. Next in order after Latium is Campania, which extends 
along the [Tyrrhenian] Sea ; above it is Samnium, in the 
interior, extending as far as the Frentani and Daunii ; and 
beyond are the Daunii, and the other nations as far as the 
Strait of Sicily. We shall in the first place speak of Campa- 
nia. From Sinuessa 4 to Misenum 5 the coast forms a vast 
gulf; beyond this is another gulf still larger, which they 
name the Crater. 6 It is enclosed by the two promontories of 
Misenum and the Athena3um. 7 It is along the shores of these 
[two gulfs] that the whole of Campania is situated. This 
plain is fertile above all others, and entirely surrounded by 
fruitful hills and the mountains of the Samnites and Osci. 
Antiochus says that this country was formerly inhabited by 
the Opici, and that these were called Ausones. Polybius 
appears to consider these as two people, for he says that the 
Opici and Ausones inhabit the country around the Crater. 8 
Others, however, state that it was originally inhabited by 
Opici and Ausones, but was afterwards seized on by a nation 
of the Osci, who were driven out by the Cumsei, and these 
again by the Tyrrheni. Thus the possession of the plain was 
much disputed on account of its great fertility. [They add 
that the Tyrrheni] built there twelve cities, and named the 
metropolis Capua. But luxury having made them effeminate, 
in the same way that they had formerly been driven from the 
banks of the Po, they were now forced to abandon this 
country to the Samnites ; who in their turn fell before the 
Romans. One proof of the fertility of this country is, that it 
produces the finest corn. I allude to the grain from which a 
groat is made superior to all kinds of rice, and to almost all other 
farinacious food. They say that some of the plains are crop- 
ped all the year round ; twice with rye, the third time with 

1 Romanelli affirms that the mountain from which the river Alaro flows 
is called Sagra, and Cramer considers that river to be the ancient Sagrus. 
The Daunii formed only a portion of the Apuli. 
We have followed Kramer's reading, rtrpaKoouov IvtvfiKovra. 
The ruins of Monte Dragone. 5 Punta di Miseno. 

The bay of Naples. 7 Punta della Campanella. 

Thispassage is not found in the works of Polybius, as handed down to us. 

B. v. c. iv. $ 4. ITALY. CAMPANIA. 361 

panic, and occasionally a fourth time with vegetables. It is 
likewise from hence that the Romans procure their finest 
wines, the Falernian, the Statanian, and the Calenian. That 
of Surrentum l is now esteemed equal to these, it having been 
lately discovered that it can be kept to ripen. In addition to 
this, the whole country round Venafrum, bordering on the 
plains, is rich in olives. 

4. The maritime cities [of Campania], after Sinuessa, are 
Liternum, 2 where is the sepulchral monument of the first of 
the two Scipios, surnamed Africanus ; it was here that he 
passed the last days of his life, having abandoned public 
affairs in disgust at the intrigues of certain opponents. A 
river of the same name 3 flows by this city. In like manner 
the Vulturnus bears the same name as the city 4 founded 
on it, which comes next in order : this river flows through 
Venafrum 5 and the midst of Campania. After these 
[cities] comes Cumre, 6 the most ancient settlement 1 "of 
the Chalcidenses and Cumaeans, for it is the oldest of all 
[the Greek cities] in Sicily or Italy. The leaders of the 
expedition, Hippocles the Cumasan and Megasthenes of 
Chalcis, having mutually agreed that one of the nations should 
have the management of the colony, and the other the honour 
of conferring upon it its own name. Hence at the present 
day it is named Cumae, while at the same time it is said 
to have been founded by the Chalcidenses. At first this 
city was highly prosperous, as well as the Phlegraean 8 plain, 
which mythology has made the scene of the adventures of the 
giants, for no other reason, as it appears, than because the 
fertility of the country had given rise to battles for its pos- 
session. Afterwards, however, the Campanians becoming 
masters 9 of the city, inflicted much injustice on the inhabit- 

1 Sorrento. 2 Torre di Patria. 3 Liternus. * Vulturnum. 6 Venafro. 

* KV/IT/. The Greeks gave a singular form to this name of the ancient 
seat of the Sibyl. Her chamber, which was hewn out of the solid rock, 
was destroyed when the fortress of Cumae was besieged by Narses, who 
undermined it. 

7 Eusebius states that it was founded 1050 B. c., a few years before 
the great migration of the lonians into Asia Minor. 

9 We may observe that Strabo seems not to have restricted the 
4>Xeypaiov irtfiiov to that which modern geographers term the Phlegraean 
plains, which are contained between Cumae and the hills bordering the 
Lake Agnano, a little beyond Pozzuolo, but, like Pliny, to have extended 
it to the whole region, at present termed Terra di Lavoro. 

8 A note in the French translation observes, that Diodorus Siculus 

362 STRABO. CASA.UB. 243, 

ants, and even violated their wives. Still, however, there 
remain numerous traces of the Grecian taste, their temples, 
and their laws. Some are of opinion that Cumse was so 
called from TO. Kvpara, the waves, the sea-coast near it being 
rocky and exposed. These people have excellent fisheries. 
On the shores of this gulf there is a scrubby forest, extending 
over numerous acres of parched and sandy land. This they 
call the Gallinarian l wood. It was there that the admirals 
of Sextus Pompeius assembled their gangs of pirates, at the 
time when he drew Sicily into revolt. 2 

5. Near to Cuma? is the promontory of Misenum, 3 and 
between them is the Acherusian Lake, 4 which is a muddy es- 
tuary of the sea. Having doubled Misenum, you come to 
a harbour at the very foot of the promontory. After this the 
shore runs inland, forming a deeply indented bay, on which 
are Baiae and the hot springs, much used, both as a fashion- 
able watering-place, and for the cure of diseases. Contiguous 
to Baue is the Lucrine Lake, 5 and within this the Lake Aver- 
nus, 6 which converts into a peninsula the land stretching from 
the maritime district, situated between it and Cuma3, as far 
as Cape Misenum, for there is only an isthmus of a few stadia, 
across which a subterraneous road is cut [from the head of 
the gulf of Avernus] to Cumae and the sea [shore] on which 
it stands. Former writers, mingling fable with history, have 
applied to Avernus the expressions of Homer in his Invoca- 
tion of Departed Spirits, 7 and relate that here formerly was 
an oracle of the dead, 8 and that it was to this place that 
Ulysses came. However, this gulf of Avernus is deep even 
near the shore, with an excellent entrance, and is both as 
to its size and nature a harbour ; but it is not used, on ac- 
count of the Lucrine Gulf which lies before it, and is both large 
and somewhat shallow. The Avernus is surrounded with 
steep hills which encompass the whole of it, with the excep- 

(lib. xii. 76) places this event in the fourth year of the 89th Olympiad, 
421 B. c. Livy (lib. iv. 44) seems to place it a year later. 

1 It is now called Pineta di Castel Volturno. 

2 Forty years B. c. 3 Punta di Miseno. 4 Lago di Fusaro. 

6 Lago Lucrino. This lake has almost disappeared, owing to a subter- 
raneous eruption, which in 1538 displaced the water and raised the hill 
called Monte Nuovo. 

8 Lago d'Averno. 

7 vijKvla, the title of the llth book of the Odyssey. 

6 vtievofiavrelov, another title of the same (llth) book 

B. v. c. iv. 5. ITALY. CAMPANIA. 363 

tion of the entrance. These hills, now so beautifully culti- 
vated were formerly covered with wild forests, gigantic and 
impenetrable, which overshadowed the gulf, imparting a feeling 
of superstitious awe. The inhabitants affirm that birds, flying 
over the lake, fall into the water, 1 being stifled by the vapours 
rising from it, a phenomenon of all Plutonian 2 localities. They 
believed, in fact, that this place was a Plutonium, around 
which the Kimmerians used to dwell, and those who sailed 
into the place made sacrifice and propitiatory offerings to the 
infernal deities, as they were instructed by the priests who 
ministered at the place. There is here a spring of water near 
to the sea fit for drinking, from which, however, every one 
abstained, as they supposed it to be water from the Styx : 
[they thought likewise] that the oracle of the dead was 
situated some where here ; and the hot springs near to the 
Acherusian Lake indicated the proximity of Pyriphlegetbon. 
Ephorus, peopling this place with Kimmerii, tells us that they 
dwell in under-ground habitations, named by them Argilla3, and 
that these communicate with one another by means of certain 
subterranean passages ; and that they conduct strangers 
through them to the oracle, which is built far below the sur- 
face of the earth. They live on the mines together with the pro- 
fits accruing from the oracle, and grants made to them by the 
king [of the country]. It was a traditional custom for the serv- 
ants of the oracle never to behold the sun, and only to quit their 
caverns at night. It was on this account that the poet said, 

" On them the Sun 
Deigns not to look with his beam-darting eye." 3 

At last, however, these men were exterminated by one of the 
kings, the oracle having deceived him ; but [adds Ephorus] 
the oracle is still in existence, though removed to another 

1 Strabo is not the only one who mentions this : Virgil says, 

" Spelunca alta fuit, vastoque immanis hiatu, 
' Scrupea, tuta lacu nigro, nemorumque tenebris ; 

Quam super haud ullse poterant impune volantes 

Tendere iter pennis ; talis esse halitus atris 

Faucibus effundens supera ad convexa ferebat ; 

Unde locum Graii dixerunt nomine Avernum." 

^Eneid. vi. 237. 

2 The Greeks applied the term Plutonian to places where disagree- 
able and pestilential exhalations arose. 

3 " Nor ever does the light-giving Sun shine upon them." 

Odys. xi. 15. 

364 STRABO. CASAUB. 245. 

place. Such were the myths related by our ancestors. But 
now that the wood surrounding the Avernus has been cut 
down by Agrippa, the lands built upon, and a subterranean 
passage cut from Avernus to Cumse, all these appear fables. 
Perhaps 1 Cocceius, who made this subterranean passage, 2 
wished to follow the practice of the Kimmerians we have 
already described, or fancied that it was natural to this place 
that its roads should be made under-ground. 

6. The Lucrine gulf extends in breadth as far as Baia3 ; it 
is separated from the sea by a bank eight stadia in length, 
and the breadth of a carriage-way ; this they say was con- 
structed by Hercules when he drove away the oxen of Geryon. 
But as the wave covered its surface in stormy weather, ren- 
dering it difficult to pass on foot, Agrippa has repaired it. 
Small vessels can put into it, but it is useless as a harbour. 3 
It contains abundant oyster-beds. Some take this to be the 
Acherusian Lake, while Artemidorus confounds it with Aver- 
nus. They say that Ba'i'se took its name from Baius one of 
the companions of Ulysses, and Misenum from Misenu?. 
Beyond is the strand and city of DicaBarchia. Formerly it 
was nothing but a naval station of the Cuma3i. It was built 
on an eminence. But at the time of the war with Hannibal, the 
Romans established a colony there, and changed its name into 
Puteoli, 4 [an appellation derived] from its wells ; or, accord- 
ing to others, from the stench of its waters, the whole district 
from hence to BaTae and Cumaj being full of sulphur, fire, and 
hot-springs. Some too are of opinion that it was on this ac- 
count [that the country about] Cuma3 was named Phlegra, 
and that the fables of the giants struck down by thunderbolts 
owe their origin to these eruptions of fire and water. This 
city has become a place of extensive commerce, having arti- 
ficially constructed harbours, which were much facilitated by 

1 The text here appears to have been corrupted. 

2 We agree with Kramer in considering as an interpolation the words, 
rt. Kai STTI "Nkav iroXtv tK iKaiap%ia(; iiri ralg ~Ba.ia.iQ, and likewise 
another at Neapolisfrom Diccearchia to Baite. It is generally supposed that 
the Grolta di Pausilipo, or.Crypta Neapolitana, is of much greater antiquity 
than the Augustan age, when Cocceius flourished. There is good reason 
to refer that great undertaking to the Cumaei, of whose skill in works of 
this nature we have so remarkable an instance in the temple of their sibyl. 

3 Dion Cassius tells us, on the contrary, that owing to the exertions of 
Agrippa, the gulfs both of Avernus and Lucrinus became excellent ports, 
XififvaQ vavXox^TaTovg aTrefoigtv, 4 Pozzuoli. 

B. v. c. iv. 7. ITALY. CAMPANIA. 365 

the facile nature of the sand, which contains much gypsum, and 
will cement and consolidate thoroughly. For mixing this 
sand witli chalk-stones they construct moles in the sea, thus 
forming bays along the open coast, in which the largest trans- 
port ships may safely ride. Immediately above the city lies 
the Forum- Vulcani, 1 a plain surrounded with hills which 
seem to be on fire, having in many parts mouths emitting 
smoke, frequently accompanied by a terrible rumbling noise ; 
the plain itself is full of drifted sulphur. 

7. After Dicaearchia is Neapolis, 2 [founded 3 originally] by 
the Cumcei, but afterwards being peopled by Chalcidians, and 
certain Pithecussreans and Athenians, 4 it was on this account 
denominated Naples. 5 Here is pointed out the tomb of Par- 

1 La Solfa-terra. 2 Naples. 

3 Innumerable accounts exist relative to the foundation of this city. 
The most prevalent fiction was that the siren Parthenope was cast upon 
its shores, and from her it derived the name, by which it was usually 
designated by the ancient poets. 

Sirenum dedit una suum memorabile nomen 
Parthenope muris Acheloias : aequore cujus 
Regnavere diu cantus, quum dulce per undas 
Exitium miseris caneret non prospera nautis. 

Sil. Ital. xii. 33. 

Scymnus of Chios mentions both the Phocaei and Cumaei as its founders. 
Stephanus of Byzantium attributes its foundation to the Rhodians ; their 
proximity is favourable to the claims of the Cumaei, and hence the con- 
nexion of Naples with Euboea, alluded to by Statius, who was born there. 
At te nascentem gremio mea prima recepit 
Parthenope, dulcisque solo tu gloria nostro 
Reptasti ; nitidum consurgat ad aethera tellus 
Eubois, et pulchra tumeat Sebethos alumna. Silv. i. 2. 
A Greek inscription mentions a hero named Eumelus as having had 
divine honours paid to him, possibly as founder of the city. [See Capaccio, 
Hist. Nap. p. 105. Martorelli de' Fenici primi abitatori di Napoli.] 
This may illustrate the following lines, 

Di patrii, quos auguriis super aequora magnis 
Littus ad Ausonium devexit Abantia classis, 
Tu ductor populi longe emigrantis Apollo, 
Cujus adhuc volucrem leva cervice sedentem 
Respiciens blande felix Eumelis adorat. Silv. iv. 8, 45. 

4 Probably those mentioned in a fragment of Timaeus, quoted by 
Tzetzes, (ad Lycophr. v. 732 737,) as having migrated to Italy under 
the command of Diotimus, who also instituted the XafjnradijQopia, which 
was still observed at Naples in the time of Statius : 

Tuque Actoea Ceres, cursu cui semper anhelo 

Votivam taciti quassamus lampada mystae. Silv. iy, 8, 50. 

5 Neapolis, or Naples, signifying the new city. 

366 STRABO. CASAUB. 246. 

thenope, one of the sirens, and a gymnastic sport is celebrated 
by command of an oracle. In course of time the inhabitants, 
having disagreed amongst themselves, admitted certain Cam- 
panians ; thus being forced to regard in the light of friends 
those most inimical to them, since their friends were hostile. 
This is proved by the names of their demarchi, the earlier of 
which are Grecian, but the latter a mixture of Campanian 
with the Grecian names. Many traces of Grecian institution 
are still preserved, the gymnasia, the ephebeia, 1 the fratrias, 2 
and the Grecian names of people who are Roman citizens. 
At the present time they celebrate, every fifth year, public 
games for music and gymnastic exercises during many days, 
which rival the most famous games of Greece. There 
is here a subterranean passage, similar to that at Cumae, 3 
extending for many stadia along the mountain, 4 between 
Dicsearchia 5 and Neapolis : it is sufficiently broad to let car- 
riages pass each other, and light is admitted from the surface 
of the mountain, by means of numerous apertures cut through a 
great depth. 6 Naples also has hot springs and baths not at all 
inferior in quality to those at Baiae, but much less frequented, 
for another city has arisen there, not less than Diccearchia, 
one palace after another having been built. Naples still pre- 
serves the Grecian mode of life, owing to those who retire 
hither from Rome for the sake of repose, after a life of labour 
from childhood, and to those whose age or weakness demands 
relaxation. Besides these, Romans who find attractions in 
this style of life, and observe the numbers of persons dwelling 
there, are attracted by the place, and make it their abode. 
8. Following this is the fortress of Heraclseum, 7 built upon 

1 Places of exercise for youth. 2 Societies. 

3 Grotta di Pausilipo. 

4 Pausilypus mons was the name of the ridge of hills which separates 
the bay of Naples from that of Pozzuoli. This was probably given to it 
on account of its delightful situation and aspect, which rendered it the 
favourite residence of several noble and wealthy Romans. 

5 Puteoli. 

6 Seneca, in describing the Crypta Neapolitana, as it was then called, 
gives an exaggerated account of the sombre horrors of the place. Perhaps 
in his time the apertures had become obstructed, which was evidently 
not the case at the time when Strabo, or the authority whom he follows, 
visited the place. 

7 Hercolano, or Herculaneum, by Cicero (to Atticus, vii. 3) called 
Herculanum. It is probable that the subversion of this town was not 

B. v. c. iv. 8. ITALY. CAMPANIA. 367 

a promontory which projects out into the sea, and which, on 
account of the prevalence of the south-west wind, is a very 
healthy spot. The Osci l originally possessed both this and 
Pompeia, 2 which is next to it, by which the river Sarno 3 
flows ; afterwards the Tyrrheni and Pelasgi, 4 and then the 
Samnites 5 obtained possession of them, and the last 6 in their 
turn were driven from these regions. Pompeia is the port 
for Nola, 7 Nuceria, 8 and Acerrae, which bears the same name as 
the city near to Cremona. It is built on the river Sarno, by 
which merchandise is received and exported. Above these 
places is Mount Vesuvius, which is covered with very beautiful 
fields, excepting its summit, a great part of which is level, 
but wholly sterile. It appears ash-coloured to the eye, 
cavernous hollows appear formed of blackened stones, looking 
as if they had been subjected to the action of fire. From 
this we may infer that the place was formerly in a burning 
state with live craters, which however became extinguished 
on the failing of the fuel. Perhaps this [volcano] may have 
been the cause of the fertility of the surrounding country, 
the same as occurs in Catana, where they say that that por- 
tion which has been covered with ashes thrown up by the 
fires of ^Etna is most excellent for the vine. The land about 
Vesuvius contains fat, and a soil which has been subjected to 
fire, and is very strong and productive of fruit : when this 
fat superabounds, it is apt, like all sulphurous substances, 
to take fire, but being dried up by evaporation, extinguished, 
and pulverized, it becomes a productive earth. Adjoining 

sudden, but progressive, since Seneca mentions a partial demolition 
which it sustained from an earthquake. (Nat. Qucest. vi. 1.) So many 
books have been written on the antiquities and works of art discovered 
in Herculaneum, that the subject need not be enlarged upon here. 

1 Several inscriptions in Oscan, and Etruscan, characters have been 
discovered in the ruins of Herculaneum. Lanzi, (torn, iii.,) Komanelli 
Viaggio a Pompei ed Ercolano. 

2 Pompeii. 3 The ancient Sarnus. 

4 These Pelasgi were established among the Tyrrhenians. 

5 It is believed that the Samnites possessed both places, 310, B. c. 

6 The Romans must have been masters of these cities 272, B. c. 
(Livy, Epit. xiv.) 

7 Nola resisted, under the able direction of Marcellus, all the efforts of 
Hannibal after the battle of Canna?. A remarkable inscription in Oscan 
characters relative to this town is explained by Lanzi, (torn. iii. 612,) 
its name is there written NUFLA. See Cramer's Ancient Italy, vol. ii. 
p. 211. 8 Nocera de' Pagani. 

368 STRABO. CASAUB. 247. 

Pompeia is Surrentum, 1 [a city] of the Campanians. from 
whence the Athenaeum, 2 called by some the promontory of 
the Sirenusae, projects [into the sea] ; upon its summit is the 
temple of Minerva, founded by Ulysses. From hence to the 
island of Capreas the passage is short; after doubling the 
promontory you encounter various desert and rocky little 
islands, which are called the SirenusaB. 3 On the side towards 
Surrentum there is shown a temple with the ancient offerings 
of those who held this place in veneration. Here is the end 
of the bay named Crater, 4 which is bounded by the two pro- 
montories of Misenum 5 and the Athenasum, both looking 
towards the south. The whole is adorned by the cities we 
have described, by villas, and plantations, so close together 
that to the eye they appear but one city. 

9. In front of Misenum lies the island of Prochyta, 6 which 
has been rent from the Pithecussa?. 7 Pithecussre was peopled 
by a colony of Eretrians and Chalcidians, which was very 
prosperous on account of the fertility of the soil and the pro- 
ductive gold-mines ; however, they abandoned the island on 
account of civil dissensions, and were ultimately driven out 
by earthquakes, and eruptions of fire, sea, and hot waters. 
It was on account of these eruptions, to which the island is 
subject, that the colonists sent by Hiero, 8 the king of Syracuse, 
abandoned the island, together with the town which they 
had built, when it was taken possession of by the Neapolitans. 
This explains the myth concerning Typhon, who, they say, 
lies beneath the island, and when he turns himself, causes 
flames and water to rush forth, and sometimes even small 

1 Sorrento. 8 Punta della Campanella. 

3 The Sirenusse were three small rocks detached* from the land, and 
celebrated as the islands of the Sirens ; they are now called Galli. See 
Holsten. Adnot.p. 248 ; Romanelli, torn, iii.p. 619. Virgil, ^En. v. 864, 
describes them as, 

Jamque adeo scopulos advecta subibat ; 

Difficiles quondam, multorumque ossibus albos. 

It had been decreed that the Sirens should lire only till some one hearing 
their song should pass on unmoved, and Orpheus, who accompanied the 
Argonauts, having surpassed the Sirens, and led on the ship, they cast 
themselves into the sea, and were metamorphosed into these rocks. 

4 The bay of Naples. 5 Punta di Miseno. 
6 Procida. 7 Ischia. 

8 It appears that Hiero the First is here alluded to ; he ascended the 
throne 478 years before the Christian era. 

B. V. C. IV. 

ITALY. 369 

islands to rise in the sea, containing springs of hot water. 
Pindar throws more credibility into the myth, by making it 
conformable to the actual phenomena, for the whole strait 
from Cumasa to Sicily is subigneous, and below the sea has 
certain galleries which form a communication between [the 
volcanos 1 of the islands 2 ] and those of the main-land. He 
shows that JEtna is on this account of the nature described 
by all, and also the Lipari Islands, with the regions around 
Dicasarchia, Neapolis, Baire, and the PithecussaB. And mind- 
ful hereof, [Pindar] says that Typhon lies under the whole of 
this space. 

"Now indeed the sea-girt shores beyond .Cumae, and Sicily, press on his 
shaggy breast." 3 

Timoeus, 4 who remarks that many paradoxical accounts were 
related by the ancients concerning the Pithecussoe, states, 
nevertheless, that a little before his time, Mount Epomeus, 5 in 
the middle of the island, being shaken by an earthquake, 
vomited forth fire ; and that the land between it and the coast 
was driven out into the sea. That the powdered soil, after 
being whirled on high, was poured down again upon the 
island in a whirlwind. That the sea retired from it to a dis- 
tance of three stadia, but after remaining so for a short time it 
returned, and inundated the island, thus extinguishing the fire. 
And that the inhabitants of the continent fled at the noise, 
from the sea-coast, into the interior of Campania. It seems 
that the hot-springs 6 here are a remedy for those afflicted with 
gravel. Capreas 7 anciently possessed two small cities, after- 
wards but one. The Neapolitans possessed this island, but 
having lost Pithecussa3 in war, they received it again from 
Csesar Augustus, giving him in exchange Caprese. This 
[island] having thus become the property of that prince, he 

1 The volcanos of Sicily, Lipari, Pithecusss, or Ischia, and Mount 
Vesuvius. See Humboldt (Cosmos i. '238, note). 

2 We, in common with the French translators and Siebenkees, have 
adopted the vi}<rov found in the MS. of Pqter Bembo, and some others 
cited by Casaubon. 

3 Pindar Pyth. Od i. 32 ; Conf. Pindar. Olymp. Od. iv. 2. 

4 This writer flourished about 264 years before the Christian era. 

5 Epopeus mons, now sometimes called Epomeo, but more commonly 
Monte San Nicolo. 

6 The waters at the source Olmitello, in the southern part of the island, 
are the most efficacious for this disease. 7 Capri. 

VOL. i. 2 B 

370 STRABO. CA.SAUB. 248. 

has ornamented it with numerous edifices. Such then are the 
maritime cities of Campania, and the islands lying opposite to it. 

10. In the interior is the metropolis, Capua, being, as the 
etymon of the name signifies, the head ; for in regard to it all 
the other cities appear small, excepting Teanum-Sidicinum, 1 
which is a very considerable place. This city lies on the 
Via Appia, as also the others which lead from hence to Brun- 
dusium, [viz.] Callateria, 2 Caudium, 3 and Beneventum. 4 On 
the side of Rome is Casilinum, 5 situated on the river Vultur- 
nus. 6 Here 540 men of Praneste sustained against Hannibal 
in the height of his power so desperate a siege, that "by reason 
of the famine, a rat 7 was sold for two hundred drachma?, the 
seller dying [of hunger], but the purchaser being saved. Han- 
nibal observing some of them sowing turnip-seed near to the 
wall, admired, as well he might, the patient courage of these 
men, who hoped to hold out in the mean while, until these 
turnips should be ready for food. However, we are assured 
that they all survived, with the exception of a few who 
perished either by famine or in war. 

11. In addition to those just spoken of, there are these 
Campanian cities which we have already mentioned, viz. 
Cales, 8 and Teanum-Sidicinum, the limits of which are 
respectively marked out by the two temples of Fortune situ- 
ated on either side of the Via Latina. Besides these are 
Suessula, 9 Atella, 10 Nola, 11 Nuceria, 12 Acerrse, 13 Abella, 14 with 

1 Teano. 

2 Galazze. We have not hesitated to read Callateria, with all MSS. 
Kramer has printed Ka\aria in text. Numismatic writers ascribe to 
this, and not the Samnite Calatia, the coins with the head of Jupiter on 
the obverse, and the legend, KALAT, and KALATI, in retrograde 
Oscan characters on the reverse. Mionnet. Med. Ant. Suppl. vol. i. p. 
232 ; Sestini, Monet. Vet. p. 13. 

3 S. Maria di Goti, near to Forchia Caudina. 4 Benevento. 
5 Nova Capua. 6 Volturno. 

7 The text has nedipvov ; but we have adopted pvbg, the word pro- 
posed by most of the Greek editors ; Valerius Maximus, Pliny, and Fron- 
tinus all agreeing in the statement, that it was a rat which fetched this 
enormous price. 8 Calvi. 9 Castel di Sessola, near Maddaloni. 

10 Holstenius says that the ruins of Atella are still to be seen near S. 
Arpino, or S. Elpidio, about two miles beyond Aversa. 

11 Now Nola. It was one of the most ancient and important cities of 
Campania ; though situated in an open plain, it resisted all the efforts of 
Hannibal after the battle of Cannae. Here Augustus expired, in the same 
room in wiiich his father Octavius had breathed his last. 12 Nocera. 

13 Acerra near the source of the Agno, the ancient Clanius. 
" Avella Vecchia. 

K. v. c. IT. 11, 12. ITALY. 371 

other smaller settlements, some of which are said to be Sam- 
nite. 1 The Samnites, by making incursions into Latium as 
far as Ardea, and afterwards devastating Campania itself, 
greatly extended their power. The Campanians, being other- 
wise accustomed to a despotic government, yielded ready 
obedience to their commands. At the present day they have 
been almost entirely exterminated by the various Roman 
generals, and last of all by Sulla, who was absolute master of 
the republic. He, after having by numerous battles extin- 
guished the Italian revolt, observing that the Samnites, almost 
without exception, remained in one body, and with one sole 
intention, so that they had even marched upon Rome itself, 
gave them battle under the walls, and as he had issued orders 
to make no prisoners, many of them were cut to pieces on the 
field, while the remainder, said to be about three or four 
thousand men, who threw down their arms, were led off to 
the Villa Publica in the Campus Martius, and there shut in ; 
three days after soldiers were sent in who massacred the 
whole; and when [Sulla] drew up his conscription list, he 
did not rest satisfied until he had destroyed, or driven from 
Italy, every one who bore a Samnite name. To those who re- 
proached him for this animosity, he replied that he had learned 
by experience that not a single Roman could rest in peace so 
long as any of the Samnites survived. Thus their cities have 
now dwindled into villages, some indeed being entirely de- 
serted, as Boianum, 2 Jisernia, 3 Panna, Telesia 4 adjoining 
Venafrum, and others similar, none of which can be 
looked upon as cities ; but in a country so renowned and 
powerful as Italy, we thought proper to mention places even 
of second-rate importance. [We should add that] Bene- 
ventum 5 and Venusia 6 are still prosperous. 

12. The following is the tradition concerning the [origin 
of the] Samnites. The Sabines having been engaged for 

1 Such was Nola, which our author in his sixth book evidently places 
in the territory of the Samnites. 2 Bojano. 3 Isernia. 

* The ruins of Telesia are to be seen about a mile from the modern 
Telese. Allifse was between Telesia and Venafrum. 5 Benevento. 

6 Venosa. The coins of Venusia have on the reverse the inscription VE., 
and an eagle resting on a thunderbolt. On the obverse, a head of Jupiter, 
and sometimes of Bacchus. Sestini, Monet. Vet. p. 15. The Antiquitates 
Venusinae and the Iter Venusinum were published at Naples in the last 

2 B 2 

372 STRABO. CASATJB. 250. 

a long period in war with the Ombrici, made a vow, common 
with some of the Grecian nations, that they would consecrate 
to the gods the productions of the year. 1 They were victorious, 
and accordingly of the productions, 2 the one kind were sacri- 
ficed, the other consecrated. However, in a time of scarcity, 
some one remarked, that they ought likewise to have 
consecrated the children. This then they did, and the chil- 
dren born at that period were called the sons of Mars. 3 When 
these had grown up to manhood, they were sent forth, a bull 
leading the way, to found a colony. The bull lay down to 
rest in a place belonging to the Opici ; a people dwelling in 
villages. These they drove out, and established themselves 
in the place. The bull, according to the direction of the di- 
viners, they sacrificed to Mars, who had given him to them 
as a leader. It seems to have been in allusion to this that 
their parents called them by the diminutive form of Sabelli. 4 
The name of Samnites, or, as the Greeks call them, Saunites, 
originated in another cause. It is also said that certain Lace- 
daemonians came to dwell amongst them, and that this is the 
reason of their affection for the Greeks, and that certain of 
them are called Pitanatas. 5 The whole of this, however, 
appears to be a mere fabrication of the Tarentini, interested 
in flattering and conciliating to themselves a neighbouring 
people, so powerful as to be able, on a time, to bring into the 
field a force of eighty thousand foot-soldiers, and eight thou- 
sand cavalry. There is said to be a law amongst the Sam- 
nites, excellent in itself, and calculated to excite to virtue. 
It is not lawful for fathers to give away their daughters to 
whomsoever they may please ; but every year ten of the most 
virtuous young women, and ten of the most virtuous young 
men, are selected ; of these the most excellent young man 
is married to the most excellent young woman, the second 
to the second, and so on in order. Should he who re- 

1 Casaubon conjectures that in place of the T<jj trei roury, we should 
read ry tapi TOVTW, or, the productions of the spring : and it certainly 
would seem that Strabo is here describing what the Latins called a vcr 
sacrum. An ancient historian, speaking of the occurrence mentioned by 
Strabo, says, " Quondam Sabini feruntur vovisse, si res communis mcli- 
oribus locis constitisset, se ver sacrum facturos." Sisenn. Hist. lib. iv,. 
ap. Non. Marcell. De doctor, indag. ed. 1683, fol. 2531. Festus, Sext. P. 
Fest. De verb. sign. F. ed. 1699, p. 478, seems to have mentioned the same 
thing. 2 The animals and fruits are intended. 3 Devoted to Mars. 

4 Or little Sabines. 5 From Pitane, a place in Laconia. 

B. v. c. iv. 13. ITALY. 373 

ceives this reward, afterwards change and become wicked, he 
is dishonoured, and the wife who had been given is taken away 
from him. Beyond are the Hirpini, who are also Samnites : 
their name they take from the wolf, which conducted their 
colony ; a wolf being called by the Samnites hirpos: these 
people border on the Leucani in the interior. So much for 
the Samnites. 

13. The fertility of their country has been productive to 
the Campanians of as much evil as good. Their luxury ran 
to such a height, that they would invite to supper, in order to 
exhibit pairs of fighting gladiators, the exact number of pairs 
being regulated according to the distinction of the guests. 
When, on their voluntary submission to Hannibal, they re- 
ceived his soldiers into winter quarters, 1 the pleasures [of the 
place] rendered the men so effeminate, that Hannibal said, 
although conqueror, that he was in danger of the enemy, 
since his soldiers were returned to him women, arid no longer 
men. When the Romans obtained the mastery, 2 they inflicted 
on them numerous ills, and ended by distributing their land 
by lot. 3 At the present day they are living in prosperity, and 
on friendly terms with the [Roman] colonists, and preserve 
their ancient reputation, both in respect to the size of their city 
and the numbers of their population. Beyond Campania, 
and the Samnites, 4 and upon the Tyrrhenian Sea, dwells the 
nation of the Picentini. This is a small off-shoot from the 
Picentini who dwell near the Adriatic, and was transplanted 
by the Romans to the Posidoniate Gulf, 5 now called the Gulf of 
Psestum. The city of Posidonia, which is built about the middle 
of the gulf, is called Pa^stum. 6 The Sybarites [when they 
founded the city 7 ] built the fortifications close upon the sea, 
but the inhabitants removed higher up. In after time 8 the 
Leucani seized upon the city, but in their turn were deprived 
of it by the Romans. 9 It is rendered unhealthy by a river 10 

1 B.C. 216. 2 211 B.C. 3 B. c.59 % 

4 We concur with Kramer in considering that the words fixP l #pfv- 
ravwv, which occur immediately after Savvlnv, have been interpolated. 

5 The Gulf of Salerno. Pesti. 

7 This city must have been founded nearly 540 years B. c., for Herod- 
otus says (hat the Phocaeans were chiefly induced to settle on the shores 
of CEnotria by the advice of a citizen of Posidonia, and they founded 
Velia in the reign of Cyrus. B. i. 164. 8 442 B. c. 9 B. c. 274. 

10 Apparently the Fiume Salso. 

374 STRABO. CASATTB. 261. 

which overflows the marshy districts in the neighbourhood. 
Between the Sirenussse and Posidonia 1 is Marcina, 2 a city 
founded by the Tyrrheni, but inhabited by the Samnites. 
[To go] from thence into Pompaea, 3 through Nuceria, 4 [you 
cross] an isthmus of not more than 120 stadia. The Picentes 
extend as far as the river Silaro, 5 which separates their 
country on this side from ancient Leucania. 6 The water of 
this river is reported to possess the singular property of 
petrifying any plant thrown into it, preserving at the same 
time both the colour and form. 7 Picentia was formerly 
the capital of the Picentes ; but they now dwell in villages, 
having been ejected by the Romans 8 for taking part with 
Hannibal. Also, instead of doing military service, it has 
been decreed that they shall be the public daily couriers and 
letter-carriers ; [a penalty] which for the same cause has 
been likewise inflicted on the Leucani and Bruttii. To keep 
them in check, the Romans fortified Salernum, which is a 
little above the sea. The distance from the Sirenussae to the 
Silaro is 260 stadia. 

1 Pesti. 2 Yietri. 3 Pompeii. 

4 Nocera. 5 The ancient Silaris. 

6 We are inclined to read Leucania with Du Theil. The Paris manu- 
script, No. 1393, reads tcaviav. 

1 Pliny, in his Natural History, (lib. ii. 106,) has confirmed Strabo's 
account. It appears from Cluvier that the people who inhabit the banks 
of the Silaro are not acquainted with any circumstances which might 
corroborate the statement. (Cluvier, Ital. Ant. lib. iv. c, 14.) 

8 About B. c. 201. 



The Sixth Book contains the remainder of Italy, and the regions within the 
Adriatic, as far as Macedonia ; likewise a description of Apulia, Calabria, 
the country by the Ionian Gulf, together with the adjacent islands, from 
Sicily to the Ceraunian mountains, and on the other side as far as Carthage, 
and the small islands lying near to it. 


1. AFTER the mouth of the Silaro, 1 is Leucania, and the 
temple of Argive Juno, founded by Jason. Near to this, 
within 50 stadia, is Posidonia. 2 Sailing thence, towards the 
high sea, is the island of Leucosia, 3 at a little distance from 
the main-land. It bears the name of one of the Sirens, who 
according to the mythology was cast up here, after having 
been precipitated with her companions into the deep. The 
promontory 4 of the island projects opposite the Sirenussae, 5 
forming the bay of Posidonium. 6 After having made this 
cape there is another contiguous bay, on which is built the 
city which the Phocasans called Hyela when they founded it, 
but others Ela from a certain fountain. People in the present 
day call it Elea. It is here that Parmenides and Zeno, the 
Pythagorean philosophers, were born. And it is my opinion 
that through the instrumentality of those men, as well as by 
previous good management, the government of that place was 
well arranged, so that they successfully resisted the Leucani 
and the Posidoniata?, notwithstanding the smallness of their 
district and the inferiority of their numbers. They are 

1 The ancient Silaris. 2 Pesti. 

3 It is now called Licosa, and sometimes Isola piana ; several vestiges 
of buildings were discovered on the island in 1696. Antonin. della Lucan. 
p. ii. disc. 8. 4 Capo della Licosa. 

5 Punta della Campanella. Golfo di Salerno. 

376 STRABO. CASAUB. 252. 

compelled, therefore, on account of the barrenness of the soil, 
to apply to maritime trade chiefly, to employ themselves in 
the salting of fish, and in such other occupations. Antiochus ] 
says that when Phocea was taken by Harpagus, the general 
of Cyrus, those who had the means embarked with their 
families, and sailed under the conduct of Creontiades, first to 
Cyrnos and Marseilles, but having been driven thence, they 
founded Elea ; 2 the name of which some say is derived from 
the river Elees. 3 The city is distant about two hundred 
stadia from Posidonia. After this city is the promontory of 
Palinurus. But in front of the Eleatis are the CEnotrides, 
two islands 4 having good anchorage. 5 And beyond Palin- 
urus are the promontory, harbour, and river of Pyxus ; 6 the 
three having the same name. This colony was founded 7 by 
Micythus, then governor of Messina in Sicily ; but those who 
were located here, except a few, abandoned the place. After 
Pyxus are the gulf, 8 the river, 9 and the city 10 of Laiis. This, 
the last n city of the Leucani, situate a little above the sea, is 
a colony 12 of the Sybarites, and is distant from Elea 400 
stadia. The whole circuit of Leucania, by sea is 650 stadia. 
Near to Laiis is seen the tomb of Draco, one of the com- 
panions of Ulysses, and the oracular response, given to the 
Italian Greeks, alludes to him : 

1 Strabo here cites the historian Antiochus, but it is surprising that he 
does not rather cite the writer from whom Antiochus seems to have 
borroAved this account, we mean Herodotus, who relates it (lib. i. 
$ 164). But Strabo, probably, looking upon Herodotus as a collector of 
fables, chose rather to yield to the authority of Antiochus, who had 
written very accurate memoirs upon Italy, and who was, likewise, 
himself a very ancient author, (Dion. Halicarn. Antiq. Rom. lib. i. 12,) 
and flourished about 420 years before the Christian era. 

2 Or Velia, founded 532 B.C., mentioned by Horace, Epist. I. xv. 1, 
" Qua? sit hyems Veliae, quod ccelum, Vala, Salerni." 

3 The modern Alento. 4 Now unknown. 

5 Pliny affirms that these two islands were called, the one Pontia, the 
other Ischia ; " Contra Veliam Pontia et Ischia, utrseque uno nomine 
CEnotrides, argumentum possessa? ab CEnotriis Italia?." Hist. Nat. lib. 
iii. 13. If this reading be not faulty, Pliny will have placed in the 
latitude, of which our author is now giving a description, a small island 
bearing the same name, Pontia, as the island lying oft' Cape Misenum. 

6 The Buxentum of the Latins. 

7 471 years before the Christian era. e Gulf of Policastro. 

9 Now the river Laino. 

10 Called Laino in the time of Cluverius. Lib. iv. cap. 14. 

11 Upon this coast. l ~ Founded about the year 510 B. c. 

B. vi. c. i. 2. ITALY. 377 

" Some day, around the Dragon's stony tomb, 
A mighty multitude shall meet their doom." 

For the Greeks of Italy, enticed by this prophecy, marched 
against Laiis, and were defeated by the Leucani. 1 

2. Such, along the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea, are 
the possessions of the Leucani, which at first did not reach 
to the other sea ; 2 the Greeks who dwelt on the Gulf of Taren- 
tum possessed it. But before the coming of the Greeks there 
were no Leucani, the Chones 3 and (Enotri possessed these 
territories. But when the Samnites had greatly increased, 
and expelled the Chones and OEnotri, and driven the Leu- 
cani into this region, while the Greeks possessed the sea- 
coast on both sides as far as the straits, the Greeks and the 
Barbarians maintained a lengthened contest. The tyrants of 
Sicily, and afterwards the Carthaginians, at one time making 
war against the Romans, for the acquisition of Sicily, and at 
another, for Italy itself, utterly wasted all these regions. The 
Greeks, however, succeeded in depriving the ancient inha- 
bitants of a great portion of the midland country, beginning 
even as early as the Trojan war ; they increased in power, 
and extent of territory, to such a degree, that they called this 
region and Sicily, the Magna Grcecia. But now the whole 
region, except Tarentum, Rhegium, and Neapolis, has become 
barbarian, 4 and belongs partly to the Leucani and Bruttii, 
partly to the Campani ; to these, however, only in name, but 
iruly to the Romans; for these people have become Roman. 
However, it is incumbent on one who is treating of uni- 

1 About the year 390 before the Christian era. 
a i. e. the Gulf of Tarentum. 

3 Strabo seems here to distinguish the Chones from the CEnotri, and the 
CEnotri from the Greeks. According to Cluvier (Ital. Antiq. cap. 16, p. 
1323) here was a double error : " not only (says he) Aristotle, but Antio- 
chus, according to Strabo's own testimony, positively affirmed that the 
Chones and CEnotri were one and the same nation, and Dionysius of 
Halicarnassus (Antiq. Roman, lib. i. 11) makes no doubt that the 
CEnotri were of Greek origin." But Mazochi justifies the distinction 
between the Chones and the CEnotri, and shows cause to doubt that the 
CEnotri were of Greek origin. 

4 iKr/3/3ap/3apJ}<r0ai. We think with Mazochi (Prodrom. ad Heracl. 
pseph. diatrib. 2, cap. 7, sect. 2) that, by the above word, Strabo pro- 
bably expressed that, at the time when he wrote, Tarentum, Rheggio, 
and Naples were the only cities founded by the Greeks in Italy, which, 
although become Roman, retained the language, laws, and usages of their 
mother country. 

378 STRABO. CASATJB. 253. 

versal geography, to speak both of things as they now are, 
and of some of those that have been, and especially when they 
are important. Of the Leucani, who border upon the Tuscan 
Sea, mention has already been made ; those who possess 
the midland regions dwell above the Gulf of Tarentum, 
but these, as well as the Bruttii, and the Samnites them- 
selves, the progenitors of both, have been so maltreated 
[by the Romans], that it is difficult to determine the bound- 
aries of each people. The reason of this is, that there no 
longer remains separately any of the institutions common to 
these nations ; and their peculiarities of language, of military 
and civil costume, and such particulars, have passed away ; 
besides, even their places of abode, considered separately and 
apart, possess nothing worthy of observation. 

3. We will narrate in a general manner what we have 
gathered concerning the Leucani, who dwell in the interior, 
without too much care in distinguishing them from their 
neighbours, the Samnites. Petilia 1 is considered as the 
metropolis of the Leucani, and is still well peopled. It owes 
its foundation to Philoctetes, who was compelled to quit Meli- 
boea on account of civil dissensions. Its position is so strong, 
that the Samnites were formerly obliged to construct forts 
around it for the defence of their territory. The ancient 
Crimissa, situated near these places, was also founded by Philoc- 
tetes. Apollodorus, in his description of the ships [of the 
Greeks], narrates concerning Philoctetes, that, according to 
certain writers, this prince having disembarked in the district 
of Crotona, settled on the promontory of Crimissa, and built 
the city of Chone 2 above it, from which the inhabitants were 
called Chones ; and that certain colonists being sent by him 
into Sicily, to the neighbourhood of Eryx, 3 with .ZEgestus the 

1 It has been well observed by Cramer in his Ancient Italy, that Strabo 
confused this Petilia of the Leucani with another better known of the 
Bruttii, the foundation of which was attributed to Philoctetes. It is 
observed by Antonini that Strabo contradicts himself, by ascribing to 
Philoctetes the origin of a town in Leucania, for he states a few lines 
further on that that hero occupied a part of the coast near Crotona, which 
was in the territory of the Brnttii. Strabo's account, however, of the 
existence of a Leucanian Petilia is confirmed by many inscriptions of 
early date. The ruins of the town remain on the Monte della Stella. 
Antonin. della Lucan. p. i. disc. 8. Romanelli, torn. i. p. 350. 

2 According to some judicious antiquaries, the site of Chone is located 
at Casabuona, near Strongoli. 3 Trapani del Monte. 

n. vi. c. i. 4. ITALY. THE BRUTTII. GRECIAN CITIES. 379 

Trojan, founded jEgesta. 1 In the inland districts are also 
Grumentura, 2 Vertinse, 3 Calasarna, 4 and other small villages, 
reaching as far as Venusia, 5 a city of some importance. This, 
however, I consider to be a Samnite city, as are also those 
which are next met with on going into Campania. Above 
the Thurii lies the district called Tauriana. 6 The Leucani 
are of Samnite origin. Having vanquished the Posidoniates 
and their allies, they took possession of their cities. At one 
time the institutions of the Leucani were democratic, but 
during the wars a king was elected by those who were pos- 
sessed of chief authority : at the present time they are Roman. 
4. The Bruttii occupy the remainder of the coast as far as 
the Strait of Sicily, extending about 1350 stadia. Antiochus, 
in his treatise on Italy, says that this district, which he in- 
tended to describe, was called Italy, but that previously it had 
been called CEnotria. The boundary which he assigns to it 
on the Tyrrhenian Sea, is the river Lao, 7 and on the Sea of 
Sicily Metapontium, the former of which we have given as 
the boundary of the Bruttii. He describes Tarentum, which 
is next to Metapontium, 8 as beyond Italy, calling it lapygian. 
He also relates that, at a more ancient period, those who dwelt 
on this side the isthmus, which lies next the Strait of Sicily, 
were the only people who were called OEnotrians and Italians. 
The isthmus is 160 stadia across between the two gulfs, namely, 
that of Hipponium, 9 which Antiochus called Napitinus, and 

1 The ruins of this city, which was anciently called also Egesta, Acesta, 
and Segesta, may be seen at Barbara, in the valley of Mazzara. 

2 Kramer, following the suggestion of Xylander, has printed 

TOV. I am inclined, however, to think that Hovfitvrm', the reading of 
Manuscripts, is correct. According to Barrio, it occupied the situa- 
tion of Gerenza, on the right bank of the Nieto. 

3 Verzine on the Nieto. (Barr. lib. iv. cap. 18. Maraf. lib. iii. c. 18.) 

* Calasarna is supposed by the Calabrian topographers to accord with 
the site of Campania. 

5 Venosa, situated about 15 miles south of the Aufidus. It was a 
colony of importance before the war against Pyrrhus. After the disaster 
at Cannae, it afforded a retreat to Varro and the few who escaped that 
signal overthrow. Horace was born there in the year of the city 688. 
About six miles from Venosa, on the site named Palazzo, was the Fons 
Bandusiae. (Chaupy, Des c. de la maison de Camp, d' Horace, torn. iii. 
p. 538.) 

Cluvier thought that we should read Qovpiavrj instead of Tavpiavr}. 

1 Laos, now Lao. Torre di Mare. 9 Golfo di S. Eufemia. 

380 STRABO. CASAXJB. 255. 

that of Scylletium. 1 The circumnavigation of the peninsula, 
which is comprised between this isthmus and the strait, is 2000 
stadia. He says that afterwards the names of Italy and of the 
CEnotrians were extended as far as Metapontium and the 
Siritis ; the Chones, a people of CEnotrian descent, and highly 
civilized, inhabited these districts, and called their country 
Chone. However, this author has written in a very loose and 
old-fashioned manner, without giving any definite boundaries 
to the Leucani and Bruttii. Now Leucania is situated on the 
Tyrrhenian and Sicilian Seas, extending on one coast from the 
Silaro 2 to the river Lao, and on the other from Metapontium 3 
to Thurii. Along the continent it stretches from the country 
of the Samnites, as far as the isthmus between Thurii and 
Cerilli, 4 near the Lao. This isthmus is 300 stadia 5 across. 
Beyond are the Bruttii, who dwell on the peninsula ; in this 
is included another peninsula, which is bounded by the isthmus 
between Scylletium 6 and the Hipponiate gulf. 7 The nation 
received its appellation from the Leucani, for they call run- 
aways Bruttii, and they say that formerly they ran away from 
them when employed as shepherds, and that afterwards their 
independence was established through the weakness fbf the 
Leucani], when Dion [of Syracuse] was prosecuting a war 
against [the younger] Dionysius, and fomented hostilities 
amongst all. 8 This is all we shall remark as to the Leucani 
and Bruttii. 

1 Golfo di Squillace. Scylletium was once a Greek city of note, com- 
municating its name to the gulf. Servius observes that the Athenians 
who founded the colony were returning from Africa. There was a Greek 
inscription found in 1791 relative to the Aa^TradrjSpo^ia, which seems to 
confirm the tradition of the Athenian origin of Scylletium. It was the 
birth-place of Cassiodorus. 

2 SiXaptc. The Silaro, which divides Lucania from Campania, takes 
its rise in the Apennines, in a district which formerly belonged to the 
Hirpini ; and after receiving the Tanager, now Negro, and the Calor, 
now Galore, falls into the Gulf of Salerno. Silius'ltalicus (viii. 582) 
states that this river possessed the property of incrusting twigs with a 
calcareous deposit : 

" Nunc Silarus quos nutrit aquis, quo gurgite tradunt 
Duritiem lapidum mersis inolescere ramis." 
At its mouth was a haven named Portus Albernus. 

3 Torre di Mare. 4 Cirella. 

5 This measure, upon our charts, is 330 Olympic stadia.' Gosselin. 

6 Golfo di Squillace. 7 The Golfo di S. Eufemia. 

8 i&Tapa&v uiravTUQ 7rpo aTravTag. Lit. " He stirred up every body 

B. vi. c. i. $ 5. ITALY. THE BRUTTII. GRECIAN CITIES. 381 

5. From the Lao the first city is the Temesa 1 of the Bruttii, 
which at present is called Tempsa. It was founded by the Au- 
sonians; afterwards the ./Etolians, under the command of Thoas, 
gained possession of it. These were expelled by the Bruttii ; 
Hannibal and the Romans have overthrown the Bruttii. 2 In 
the vicinity of Temesa is the Heroum of Polites, one of the 
companions of Ulysses. It is surrounded by a thick grove of 
wild olives. He was treacherously slain by the barbarians, 
and became in consequence very wrathful, arid his shade so 
tormented the inhabitants that they submitted to pay him a 
tribute, according to the direction of a certain oracle. Thus 
it became a proverb amongst them, " Let no one offend the 
hero of Temesa," for they said that [for a long time he 3 ] had 
tormented them. But when the Epizephyrian Locrians took 
the city, they feign that Euthymus the pugilist went out against 
him, and having overcome him in fight, constrained him to 
free the inhabitants from tribute. 4 They say that the poet 
intended this Temesa, and not the Tamassus 5 in Cyprus, (for 
it is said that the words are suitable to either, 6 ) when he 

against every bodv." It is conceived that the hostilities of the Bruttii 
were fomented by Dion in order to prevent the tyrant Dionysius from 
deriving any aid from his Leucanian allies. The advancement of the 
Bruttii to independence is computed by Diodorus Siculus to have taken 
place about 397 years after the foundation of Rome, that is, 356 before 
the Christian era. 

1 The situation of Temesa has not yet been fully determined. Cluve- 
rius fixes it about ten miles south of Amantea, near Torre Loppa. Ro- 
manelli observes, however, that Cluverius has not allowed fof the difference 
between the ancient and modern computation of distance. To rectify 
this oversight, he makes choice of Torre del piano del Casale, nearly two 
miles north of Torre Loppa, as the locality of this ancient site. The silver 
coins of Temesa are scarce. They have the Greek epigraph, TEM. 

2 After the second Punic war it was colonized by the Romans, who 
called it Tempsa, B. c. 195. 

3 We concur with Kramer in approving the proposition of Groskurd 
to understand the words iicflvov ptv ovv Sid TTO\\OV as having been 
originally written in the text immediately before i-jriKtloOai avrolt;. 

4 They had been compelled to sacrifice a virgin annually in order to 

appease his disturbed spirit. 
* Borgo di Tamasso. 

6 These words in parenthesis seem to have been interpolated by the 
transcribers of our author. Both Temesa and Tamassus were rich in 
metal, but the spelling of the name in Homer is more in accordance with 
Temesa than Tamassus, and other poets have alluded to it, as Ovid. Met. 
xv. 706, 

382 STRABO. CASAUB. 256. 

" in quest of brass 
To Temesa." 1 

and certain copper-mines are pointed out near to the place, 
which are now exhausted. Contiguous to it is Terina, 2 which 
Hannibal destroyed, when he found he could no longer retain 
it ; at the time when he took refuge in the country of the 
Bruttii. 3 Next in order comes Cosentia, 4 the metropolis of the 
Bruttii. A little above it is Pandosia, which is strongly for- 
tified, before which Alexander the Molossian king was over- 
thrown. This prince was led astray by the oracle of Dodona, 
which commanded him to avoid Acheron and Pandosia ; 5 for 
places with names like these being pointed out in Thesprotia, 
caused him to lose his life 6 here. The position has three 
summits, and the river Acheron flows by it. He was also 
mistaken in another oracle, 

" Pandosia, thou three-topp'd hill, 

Hereafter many people thou shalt kill ;" 

for he thought that it foreshowed the destruction of his ene- 
mies, and not of his own people. They say that Pandosia 7 

" Evincitque fretum, Siculique angusta Pelori, 

Hippotadseque domos regis, Temesesque metalla." 
And Fast. v. 441, 

" . . , . Temesseaque concrepat sera." 
And Statius, Silv. i. 42, 

" Et cui se toties Temese dedit hausta metallis." 
1 Odyssey i. 184. 2 Nocera. 

3 Hannibal, took refuge in Calabria about 209 years before the Chris- 
tian era. 

4 Cosenza, near the source of the Crathis, now Crati, represents 
Cosentia. It was taken by Hannibal after the surrender of Petilia, 
but towards the end of the war the Romans regained it. 

5 AiaKiSi], irpO(u\ao fJLO\tiv 'A\povariov vScap